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ORIGINS OF MODERNITY

cosmology & astronomy

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Copernicus, Nicolaus (1473-1543)
De revolutionibus orbium caelestium.
Basileae : Ex officina Henricpetrina, [1566].

Image from Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium caelestium

First published in 1543, Copernicus' On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres is one of the classic works in planetary astronomy, presenting the first detailed sun-centred cosmology. Indeed so dramatic was its impact that many historians today speak of the Scientific Revolution as beginning in the year 1543. It was not an immediate success however and it was not until after the work of Kepler and Galileo that the Copernican system came to be widely accepted. The diagram displayed here in the preface belies the complexity of the Copernican system which retained many features of Aristotelian cosmological theory.

Another image from Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium caelestium
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