GREAT MEN : COPERNICUS, KEPLER, AND GALILEO
For a long time people believed that the sun and the planets went around the Earth. The polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) doubted this 'geocentric world view' (in Latin 'Geo'=Earth; which supported the view that the Earth was at the centre of the universe. However, just before his death he proved that the planets obtained the sun. His theory went against the popular view of the people at that time.
The German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) further improved this ‘heliocentric world view’ (in Latin ‘helios’ = sun). He discovered that the orbits of the planets were not circular, but were oval and that the planets moved at different speeds.
Kepler was in close correspondence with his Italian colleague Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) through letters. Galileo had been studying the surface of the moon with the telescope he had made and had discovered the four moons of Jupiter. When Galilei published his new world view, his writings were banned by the Pope. Under the threat of a death panalty, he had to withdraw his statements and was condemned to a life-long house arrest.
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