Nicholas Copernicus

Nicholas
Copernicus
1473
1543

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

Author Quotes

I can easily conceive, most Holy Father, that as soon as some people learn that in this book which I have written concerning the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, I ascribe certain motions to the Earth, they will cry out at once that I and my theory should be rejected.

I therefore took this opportunity and also began to consider the possibility that the Earth moved. Although it seemed an absurd opinion, nevertheless, because I knew that others before me had been granted the liberty of imagining whatever circles they wished to represent the phenomena of the stars, I thought that I likewise would readily be allowed to test whether, by assuming some motion of the Earth's, more dependable representations than theirs could be found for the revolutions of the heavenly spheres.

In so many and such important ways, then, do the planets bear witness to the earth's mobility.

In the first book I shall describe all the positions of the spheres, along with the motions which I attribute to the Earth, so that the book will contain as it were the general structure of the universe. In the remaining books I relate the motions of the remaining stars, and all the spheres, to the mobility of the Earth, so that it can be thence established how far the motions and appearances of the remaining stars and spheres can be saved, if they are referred to the motions of the Earth.

Let no one expect anything of certainty from astronomy, lest if anyone take as true that which has been constructed for another use, he go away... a bigger fool than when he came to it.

Let us put these new hypotheses [in] public appearance among the old ones which are themselves no more probable, especially since they are wonderful and easy and bring with them a vast storehouse of learned observations.

Mathematics is written for mathematicians.

Accordingly, since nothing prevents the earth from moving, I suggest that we should now consider also whether several motions suit it, so that it can be regarded as one of the planets. For, it is not the center of all the revolutions.

More stars in the north are seen not to set, while in the south certain stars are no longer seen to rise.

All the spheres revolve about the sun as their mid-point, and therefore the sun is the center of the universe.

Moreover, there is no difference between the earth's centers of gravity and magnitude.

Although all the good arts serve to draw man's mind away from vices and lead it toward better things, this function can be more fully performed by this art, which also provides extraordinary intellectual pleasure.

Near the sun is the center of the universe.

Assumed by contemporary readers to be written by Copernicus himself, this preface suggested the earth's motion was merely a mathematical device and not to be taken seriously.

Nor do I doubt that ingenious and learned mathematicians will sustain me, if they are willing to recognize and weigh, not superficially, but with that thoroughness which Philosophy demands above all things, those matters which have been adduced by me in this work to demonstrate these theories.

Every observed change of place is caused by a motion of either the observed object or the observer or, of course, by an unequal displacement of each.

How could anyone observe the mighty order with which our God governs the universe without feeling himself inclined… to practice all of virtues, and to the beholding of the Creator Himself, the source of all goodness, in all things and before all things?

The strongest affection and utmost zeal should, I think, promote the studies concerned with the most beautiful objects. This is the discipline that deals with the universe's divine revolutions, the stars' motions, sizes, distances, risings and settings . . . for what is more beautiful than heaven?

1) There is no one center in the Universe.

2) The Earth's center is not the center of the Universe.

3) The center of the universe is near the Sun.

4) The distance from the Earth to the Sun is imperceptible compared with the distance to the stars.

5) The rotation of the Earth accounts for the apparent daily rotation of the stars.

6) The apparent annual cycle of movements of the Sun is caused by the Earth revolving around it, and,

7) the apparent retrograde motion of the planets is caused by the motion of the Earth from which one observes.

So far as hypotheses are concerned, let no one expect anything certain from astronomy, which cannot furnish it, lest he accept as the truth ideas conceived for another purpose, and depart from this study a greater fool than when he entered it.

For when a ship is floating calmly along, the sailors see its motion mirrored in everything outside, while on the other hand they suppose that they are stationary, together with everything on board. In the same way, the motion of the earth can unquestionably produce the impression that the entire universe is rotating.

To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful workings of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge.

If perchance there should be foolish speakers who, together with those ignorant of all mathematics, will take it upon themselves to decide concerning these things, and because of some place in the Scriptures wickedly distorted to their purpose, should dare to assail this my work, they are of no importance to me, to such an extent do I despise their judgment as rash. For it is not unknown that Lactantius, the writer celebrated in other ways but very little in mathematics, spoke somewhat childishly of the shape of the earth when he derided those who declared the earth had the shape of a ball. So it ought not to surprise students if such should laugh at us also. Mathematics is written for mathematicians to whom these our labors, if I am not mistaken, will appear to contribute something even to the ecclesiastical state the headship of which your Holiness now occupies

I shall now recall to mind that the motion of the heavenly bodies is circular, since the motion appropriate to a sphere is rotation in a circle.

For a traveler going from any place toward the north, that pole of the daily rotation gradually climbs higher, while the opposite pole drops down an equal amount.

Author Picture
First Name
Nicholas
Last Name
Copernicus
Birth Date
1473
Death Date
1543
Bio

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