Google honors heliocentric pioneer Copernicus - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Google honors heliocentric pioneer Copernicus

Posted: Updated:
This screen grab shows the Google doodle honoring the 540th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus. This screen grab shows the Google doodle honoring the 540th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus.
  • InternationalMore>>

  • Ukraine moves against insurgents in the east

    Ukraine moves against insurgents in the east

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:26:13 GMT
    Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says police have cleared the city hall in a southeastern city of pro-Russian protesters who had been occupying it for over a week.More >>
    Russia announced new military exercises Thursday involving ground and air forces near its border with Ukraine, swiftly responding to a Ukrainian operation to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the...More >>
  • China set to punish web giant Sina for pornography

    China set to punish web giant Sina for pornography

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:46 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:46:56 GMT
    China's official news agency says authorities plan to revoke two crucial publication licenses for web giant Sina.com because pornographic content was found on its sites.More >>
    China plans to revoke two crucial publication licenses for Sina.com, which might partially ban the web giant's operations, because obscene content was found during an anti-pornography crackdown, state media said Thursday.More >>
  • Costa Rica is demanding US explain 'Cuban Twitter'

    Costa Rica is demanding US explain 'Cuban Twitter'

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:46 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:46:06 GMT
    The Costa Rican government says it's still waiting for the Obama administration to explain why it launched the secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite...More >>
    The Costa Rican government says it's waiting for the Obama administration to explain why it improperly devised a secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite warnings in...More >>

(RNN) – Today we know the sun is center of the solar system thanks to Nicolaus Copernicus, who is responsible for challenging the Roman Catholic Church in the name of science.

Google has celebrated his 540th birthday today with a doodle.

Copernicus challenged geocentric, or Earth as the center of the solar system, ideas with the publication of On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres in 1543.

Copernicus, born Feb. 19, 1473, was not the first to present a heliocentric, or sun-centered, theory of the solar system, but his model was explained in greater detail and with better accuracy than the work of Greek astronomer Aristarchus. Aristarchus' theory was presented in 270 B.C., but the theory was rejected centuries later by the Roman Catholic Church, which was a staunch supporter of geocentrism.

Copernicus dedicated Heavenly Spheres to Pope Paul III, who was the reigning pontiff at the time. Nevertheless, his theory was considered heretical because it went against the church's teachings because of an interpretation of Psalm 93 that the Earth was "immovable and firm." Copernicus died shortly after the book's publication, and the church banned it for 300 years.

In addition to a sun-centered solar system, Copernicus asserted the moon orbited Earth, stars don't move and only appear to because the Earth is moving, planets don't revolve around a fixed point, stars are much further away from Earth than the sun and the Earth's orbit is spherical.

Copernicus' ideas we later expanded and improved on by Johannes Kepler, who modified the theory to include elliptical orbits, which was later confirmed by Galileo Galilei. Isaac Newton used his research on gravity to explain heliocentrism in 1687, but it wasn't until 1758 that the Roman Catholic Church began to soften its stance.

In 1822, Pope Pius VII allowed heliocentric books to be published in Rome.

Google's doodle contains an animated model of the solar system with the sun taking the place of the second O in its logo. Six planets revolve around the sun, including the Earth, which has the moon revolving around it.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow