Introduction: The universe; “so vast, without any question, is the divide handiwork of the Almighty Creator.” Figuring out ‘why’ is not my role as an astronomer or mathematician, but more so the ‘what’. The motions of the planets have forever intrigued me, Nicolaus Copernicus, ever since a young age. Not many know of me, though.
Not many know about my heliocentric system and my arrangement of the solar system, and not many know of my thoughts or my life itself. Significant Life Event 1Although astronomy and mathematics were indeed my passion, my uncle believed I ought to work for the church; he would’ve been displeased if I spent the majority of my time on looking up at the heavens rather than studying Greek. I traveled to Italy where I attended the University of Bologna, where I grealy devoted my time to studying both law and astronomy/mathematics. While in Bologna, I spent much time with the astronomy professor Domenico Maria Novara, assisting with his nightly observations.
Significant Life Event 2Beginning in 1517 and continuing throughout my years, I wrote a book called De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, translated to On The Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, on my heliocentric theory. In my writing, I proposed the theory that the sun is at rest and that the Earth is in motion, and not the other way round. I also wrote about the arrangement of the planets and how long it takes for each planet to complete a single cycle around the sun. This book I did not publish for a long time, and it was only done so right before my death in 1543, after my young friend and pupil Joachim Rheticus convinced me to do so. I hadn’t planned to share my book, as not many would believe my reasoning; for how would it be possible for the Earth to be moving? How would things not go flying everywhere and wouldn’t that mean it would be more difficult to walk west than it would be to walk east? That’s what was believed.
When my work was published, it indeed caused much controversy. Many opposed to my ideas and theories because what I stated and proved went against the Ptolemaic System, the idea that the Earth was the centre of the universe, and Aristotelian natural philosophy. The Catholic church banned my book and placed it on the list of prohibited books, where it stayed until 1835. But once years passed, others eventually saw my ways and understood my thoughts, agreeing with me.
This book has made a huge difference on science and astronomy, as well as how others know me as an astronomer.