Nicholas Copernicus


German Renaissance Astronomer,formulated a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced Earth as the center of the universe

Author Quotes

Of all things visible, the highest is the heaven of the fixed stars.

To be sure, heretofore there has been virtually unanimous acceptance of the belief that the middle of the universe is the earth.

Perhaps there will be babblers who, although completely ignorant of mathematics, nevertheless take it upon themselves to pass judgment on mathematical questions and, badly distorting some passages of Scripture to their purpose, will dare find fault with my undertaking and censure it. I disregard them even to the extent as despising their criticism as unfounded.

We should not heed certain peripatetics who declared that the entire body of water is ten times greater than all the land.

Pouring forth its seas everywhere, then, the ocean envelops the earth and fills its deeper chasms.

What appears to us as motions of the sun arise not from its motion but from the motion of the earth and our sphere, with which we revolve about the sun like any other planet. The earth has, then, more than one motion.

So, influenced by these advisors and this hope, I have at length allowed my friends to publish the work, as they had long besought me to do.

Whatever motion appears in the firmament arises not from any motion of the firmament, but from the earth's motion. The earth together with its circumjacent elements performs a complete rotation on its fixed poles in a daily motion, while the firmament and highest heaven abide unchanged.

The apparent retrograde and direct motion of the planets arises not from their motion but from the earth's. The motion of the earth alone, therefore, suffices to explain so many apparent inequalities in the heavens.

The center of the earth is not the center of the universe, but only of gravity and of the lunar sphere. All the spheres revolve about the sun as their mid-point, and therefore the sun is the center of the universe.

The earth also is spherical, since it presses upon its center from every direction.

The ratio of the earth's distance from the sun to the height of the firmament is so much smaller than the ratio of the earth's radius to its distance from the sun that the distance from the earth to the sun is imperceptible in comparison with the height of the firmament.

There is no one center of all the celestial circles or spheres.

Therefore I would not have it unknown to Your Holiness, the only thing which induced me to look for another way of reckoning the movements of the heavenly bodies was that I knew that mathematicians by no means agree in their investigation thereof.

Therefore on long pondering this uncertainty of mathematical traditions on the deduction of the motions of the system of the spheres, I began to feel disgusted that no more certain theory of the motions of the mechanisms of the universe, which has been established for us by the best and most systematic craftsman of all, was agreed by the philosophers, who otherwise theorized so minutely with most careful attention to the details of this system. I therefore set myself the task of reading again the books of all philosophers which were available to me, to search out whether anyone had ever believed that the motions of the spheres of the, universe were other than was supposed by those who professed mathematics in the schools.

Therefore, having obtained the opportunity from these sources, I too began to consider the mobility of the earth.

Therefore, in the course of the work I have followed this plan: I describe in the first book all the positions of the orbits together with the movements which I ascribe to the Earth, in order that this book might contain, as it were, the general scheme of the universe.

Therefore, when I considered this carefully, the contempt which I had to fear because of the novelty and apparent absurdity of my view, nearly induced me to abandon utterly the work I had begun.

Those things which I am saying now may be obscure, yet they will be made clearer in their proper place.

Not a few other very eminent and scholarly men made the same request, urging that I should no longer through fear refuse to give out my work for the common benefit of students of Mathematics.

Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heavens as its center, would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.

First of all, we must note that the universe is spherical.

For it is not unknown that Lactantius, otherwise a famous writer but a poor mathematician, speaks most childishly of the shape of the Earth when he makes fun of those who said that the Earth has the form of a sphere.

For it is the duty of an astronomer to compose the history of the celestial motions through careful and expert study.

Hence the earth too is evidently enclosed between poles and is therefore spherical.

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German Renaissance Astronomer,formulated a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced Earth as the center of the universe