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Nicholas Copernicus
In Polish, Mikolaj Kopernik was born in Torun on the Vistula in modern-day Poland. His training was in law and medicine but his main interest was astronomy and mathematics. His unorthodox idea is called Heliocentic model of cosmology.

His ideas is presented in his book De Revolutionibus. Copernicus made the Earth an astronomical body, which brought a kind of unity to the universe. His new cosmology had the revolutionary implication that the Earth was small, while the universe was large.

Heliocentric plan of the solar system in first edition of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus.

The most important hypothesis Copernicus adopted in De Revolutionibus is that Earth is but one of six (then known) planets that revolve about the Sun.


Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn

0.38 0.72 1.00 1.52 5.22 9.18

0.39 0.72 1.00 1.52 5.20 9.54

This table shows the values obtained by Copernicus for the distances of the various planets from the sun, in units of Earth's distance. Also given are the values determined by modern measurement.

Tycho Brahe
He came from a noble Danish family. He developed an early interest in astronomy and as a young man made significant astronomical observations.

In 1597 he left Denmark and worked at Prague for Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia. In 1600, he secured the assistance of Johannes Kepler who like Tycho, was an exile from his native land. His work gained patronage of the Danish king Frederick II and in 1576 he made accurate pretelescopic observations for 20 years.

(a) Tycho's Observation

Tycho armillary Sphere Replica

Sextant from Tycho Brahes Astronomiae instauratae mechanica

With instruments of his own design, he was able to make observation accurate to the limit vision with the naked eye.

(b) Tycho's Cosmology

Tycho rejected the Copernican heliocentric hypothesis an what seemed at the time to be very sound grounds. His ideas were debated among the astronomers of his time, but later diserted as the Copernican sytem gained favor. It is his superb observation, not his cosmological ideas that we remember Tycho today.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

Born in Wurttemberg in Southern Germany Attended the University of Tubingen and studied for a theological career. Famous for his 3 laws of Planetary motion.


1. The orbit of every planet is an ellipse with the sun at the focus. 2. A line joining a planet and the sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time. 3. The square of the orbital period of a planet is directly proportional to the cube of the semi major axis of its orbit.

1.) KEPLER'S FIRST LAW: The orbit of every planet is ellipse with the sun at one focus 1609 - Kepler published the first results of his work in the The New Atronomy or the Commentaries on the Motion of Mars. Ellipse - is the simplest kind of closed curve - belongs to a family of curves known as conic sections. Conic Section - is the curve of intersection between a hallow cone and a plane that cuts through it. Foci (singular; focus) - is the sum of the distances to two points inside the ellipse. Major axis - is the maximum diameter of the ellipse

2.) KEPLER'S SECOND LAW: A line jointing a planet and the sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time, also called the Law of Equal Areas. This explains how the speed of Mars varied at different parts of its orbit. The planet speeds up as it come closer to the sun and slows down as it pulls away.

3.) KEPLER'S THIRD LAW: The square of the orbital period of a planet is directly proportional to the cube of the semi major axis of its orbit, also known as harmonic law. 1619 - Kepler published his discovery about the harmony of the worlds through a simple algebraic equation.

P2 = Ka3
- is the algebraic equation of Kepler's Third Law of Planetary Motion where P represents the sidereal period of the planet, a is the semi major axis of its orbit, and K is the numerical constant whose value depends on the kinds of units chosen to measure time and distance.

The Astronomical Unit (AU) - is the unit of time the Earth's period and for the unit of distance the semimajor axis of the Earth's orbit.

P2 = a3
-is the derived algebraic equation of Kepler's Third Law. Harmony of the worlds - a book of Kepler which deals with Kepler's attempts to associate numerial relations in the solar system with the music.

OBSERVATIONAL TEST OF KEPLER'S THIRD LAW Semimajor Axis(AU) 0.387 0.723 1.000 1.524 5.203 9.534 Period (Years) 0.241 0.615 1.000 1.881 11.862 29.456

Planet Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn

a3 0.053 0.378 1.000 3.537 140.8 867.9

P2 0.058 0.378 1.000 3.537 140.7 867.7

Who is Galileo?
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), the Italian contemporary of Kepler, was born in Pisa. In 1589, he became a professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of Pisa. In 1592, he obtained better position at the University of Padua until 1960. After 1960 he left to become mathematician to the grand Duke of Tuscany.

a) Galileo's Experiments in Mechanics - the study of motion and actions of forces on bodies. * inertia - the property of the body that resists any of motion. -Galileo argued the theory of Aristotle that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones. b) Galileo and the Heliocentric Cosmmology 1590- Galileo accepted the Copernican hypothesis of solar system. * Heliocentric Cosmmology introduced by Nicholas Copernicus. - earth is a planet and that the planets all circle about the Sun.

c) Galileo's Astronomical Observations

1608 Dutch spectacle maker Hans Lipershey made first telescopes to attract much notice in Europe. 1609 Galileo heard the discovery and assembled his own telescope.. 1610 he started the world by publishing a list of his remarkable dicoveries in a small book, The sidereal Messenger.

d) Dialogue on the two Great World System the book written in Italian by Galileo which appeared in 1632.

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