Copernican solar system

Copernican solar system

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Copernican solar system. Historical artwork of the Sun-centred (heliocentric) model of the solar system, revived by the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543. This overthrew the inaccurate Ptolomaic system, where heavenly objects inhabited celestial spheres moving about a stationary Earth. Copernicus kept circular orbits, but they were now around the Sun. In 1609 Kepler would correctly use elliptical orbits. Then, in 1610, Galileo used his telescope to discover Jupiter's moons and Saturn's rings. Further discoveries would include Uranus (1781), and the asteroids Ceres (1801) and Pallas (1802). From Bilder Atlas, Johann Georg Heck, 1860.

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