Engraving of the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems

Engraving of the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ptolemaic and Copernican cosmologies. Engraving of Copernican (at centre left) and Ptolemaic (at lower right) cosmological systems on a set of scales. The hand of God (at top centre) is passing judgement on their relative merits; the Ptolemaic system has tipped the scales in its favour. The Ptolemaic system described the heavenly bodies as orbiting around the Earth in complicated, circular epicycles. Nicolaus Copernicus suggested in 1543 that the planets went around the Sun in simple orbits. Copernicus' solar system theory was supp- ressed by the Roman Catholic church until 1835; the theory was accepted in Protestant countries during the 17th century. Engraving from 1651.

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Keywords: abstract, artwork, astronomy, copernican, copernican cosmology, copernicus, cosmology, hand of god, historical, history of science, planetary motions, ptolemaic, ptolemaic system, ptolemy

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