Copernicus's heliocentric model, 1543

Copernicus's heliocentric model, 1543

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Copernicus's heliocentric model, diagram published in 1543 by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) in his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). This model revolutionised astronomy, replacing the previous Earth-centred (geocentric) model. The diagram (labelled in Latin), shows concentric spheres around the Sun (centre). The outer, fixed sphere (I, the stars) surrounds rotating spheres (II-VII) for Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth (and the Moon), Venus, and Mercury. Some of the planets have their orbital periods lebelled. This model still used the heavenly spheres of the Ancient Greeks. Later work showed the stars were much further away and that planetary orbits are ellipses, not circles.

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