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The History of Astronomy Part 5 Copernicus Copernicus (1473-1543) Copernicus was a Polish physician, lawyer and astronomer, he questioned the Ptolemaic System. It just didn’t pass the test of “Ockham’s Razor” that “the simplest explanation is usually best.” The Copernican System Copernicus proposed a simple heliocentric system with circular orbits • The planets orbit in the right order (though without Uranus and Neptune). • He even got the relative distances from the sun correct (see chart on page 49). • Moon orbits Earth To avoid religious persecution he published his work “de revolutionibus orbium coelestium” posthumusly. This system explains retrograde motion easily, The Earth was simply passing the by! The lack of observable parallax could be explained with simple geometry. A star far enough away would have a parallax too small to see Recent discoveries had shown that stars might be far enough away (see Tycho) At first Copernicus's Simple Heliocentric model met opposition from great astronomers such as Tycho Brahe . But some agreed, Like: The Astronomer Kepler And the mathematician/philosopher: Rene Descartes A Great Debate ensued Crazy Talk! Thomas Diggs and Giordano Bruno both proposed that: Stars are other Suns and planets may orbit them!