Looking Up: That's Nice, But Now Back To Me...

Aug 26, 2019

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Credit Original image by Niko Lang / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up we learn how a world view did change. The only destruction talked about is that of Ptolomy's geocentric system. Count yourself in...

Ever consider yourself central to a discussion? We humans for many centuries considered ourselves the center of the discussion, literally the center of everything.  As a model for the cosmos we called that geo-centralism – the placement of the earth in the middle of it all. 

Considering the limited observational and understanding of the universe it was a viable beginning to explain the universe and our place in it.  Still, it can be considered an ego-centric way of seeing things.

In 2nd CE, Ptolemy suggested the Earth was fixed in position, with the Sun and other bodies revolving around it. Ptolemy’s world view was locked in by political and religious support.  Ptolemy’s geocentric system dominated scientific thought for over 1,500 years, even though it could not accurately explain retrograde motion of the planets or other observed phenomena.

It had been argued before, and well afterward, Ptolemy, that a Sun-centered model better fitted the observations.  It wasn’t until Nicholas Copernicus’ publications showing the simplicity and elegance of a solar centered model, that it was seriously reconsidered.  Galileo’s observational and Kepler’s mathematical models better modeled reality and was the final nail in the coffin of Geo-central models.

It makes you reconsider the phrase, “You say you want a revolution”.

If you’d like to take a closer look at heliocentrism, or any of the other wonderful and amazing things in the sky, please visit KRCC.org for a link to information on our monthly meetings and our free public star parties.