DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar system and Nicolaus Copernicus, composite artwork. All eight planets are shown, plus Pluto, the asteroid belt and a comet. The Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was the first to formulate a scientifically-based heliocentric cosmology that displaced the Earth from the center of the universe. His epochal book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), is often regarded as the starting point of modern astronomy.
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