Nicolaus Copernicus – The Heliocentric System of the Cosmic Bodies
Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer, mathematician, lawyer, physician and economist. Copernicus is the first scientist to formulate the heliocentric system of the cosmic bodies, according to which the Sun is in the center of the solar system, and not Earth, as it was believed to be.
Nicolaus Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473, in Poland, in a family engaged in the sale of copper. He was the youngest of four children. When he was ten years old, his father died, and his uncle took over the care of his education.
In 1491, Nikola enrolled in the University of Krakow, where he studied painting and mathematics. Although he did not learn astronomy at that time, he developed an interest in galaxy and stars and collected books on the subject.
After completing studies in 1494, his uncle appointed him a priest in Torun. Although officially, he was not a priest, Copernicus held this position for the rest of his life. This job provided him with enough money to continue his studies.
In 1496, Nicolaus traveled to Italy, in Bologna, where he enrolled church law. After completing his studies of church law he enrolled in medicine in Padua in 1500. In his free time, he studied astronomy. After studying he returned to Poland and his duties as a priest, but soon moved to Frombork, where he lived and worked as a priest for the rest of his life. There he made his observatory on one of the towers of the fort that surrounded the church.
During his studies he studied astronomy and in 1508 Copernicus developed a model of a heliocentric planetary system.
In the second century p.n.e. Ptolemy invented a geocentric model that disagreed with Aristotle’s idea that celestial bodies rotate at different speeds around a given point, ie, Earth, as the center of the Solar System. Because of these inconsistencies, Copernicus decided to place the Sun in the center of the system instead of the Earth. He also believed that the size of Earth’s orbit depends on its distance from the Sun.
Although this theory was considered revolutionary, it was quickly rejected because it accepted the Ptolemaic theory of the church, because it was appropriate for Earth to be the center of the Universe. However, Copernicus’s system was much more precise and included much more efficient formulas for calculating the position of the planet. He also discovered that the Earth revolves around the Sun and around its axis.
His work has provoked vicious reactions, but is rapidly accepted in scientific circles. However, it was not easy for the church to accept it, and that is why the Pope prohibited this work in 1616 and proclaimed Copernicus heretical because his ideas went against church teaching. It did not help even that Copernicus devoted this work to the Pope.
His idea remained only theory, and his work remained on the list of forbidden reading for almost three centuries.
Nikola Copernicus died on May 24, 1543.