Death of Copernicus, Frombork, 1543

Death of Copernicus, Frombork, 1543

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Caption: Death of Copernicus. Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) on his deathbed in Frombork, on 24 May 1543. Copernicus, who feared persecution by the Roman Catholic Church for his heliocentric theory that the Earth moves around the Sun, delayed publication for over 30 years. The first printed copy of On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres was given to him on his deathbed. Legend tells that he woke from a coma, looked at his book, and died peacefully soon afterwards. This artwork, by French illustrator Leon Benett (1838-1917), is from Astronomical Myths (1877) by the British geologist John Frederick Blake (1839-1906).

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