We’re Not in the Middle!

The Renaissance is known as the period of re-birth. It is the time of new art, new music, and also new science. Through out time the Church and the people have always believed that the sun and all the other planets revolved around the Earth. Any other theory would be considered heresy.

One of the greatest discoveries of the renaissance was the heliocentric theory. This theory stated that the sun was the center of the universe. Nicolaus Copernicus created this theory. What he discovered surprised everyone.

Nicolaus Copernicus started studying at the University of Bologna on October 19, 1496. He was going to earn a degree in canon law for three years. He was very interested in studying astronomy and mathematics. While studying in Bologna he became aware of the inaccurate predictions of the motion of the planets. He studied these predictions and in 1514 he distributed a little book that was hand written to a few of his friends. This book stated Copernicus’s theory that the Sun was in the center and not the Earth. This book was called “Little Commentary.”

Inside the book there were these six statements; there is no one center in the universe, the Earth’s center is not the center of the universe, the center of the universe is near the sun, the distance from the Earth to the sun is imperceptible compared with the distance to the stars, the rotation of the Earth accounts for the apparent daily rotation of the stars, and the apparent annual cycle of movements of the sun is caused by the Earth revolving round it. He then began writing a book called De revolutionibus, but even after he finished it he never showed it to anyone. He was afraid that he would be accused of committing heresy.

Eventually the book did get published, but it was on the same day as his death on May 24, 1543. Before he died there was not enough information to prove that the sun was actually in middle of the universe and not the Earth.

This new theory spread to others and also set the scene for major advances in science. Copernicus’s theory may have mark the beginning of a scientific revolution and astronomy.