Nicolaus Copernicus’ 540th birthday: A man who questioned the rules

Feb. 19, 2013 | 9:55 a.m.

CopernicusNicolaus Copernicus has received that highest of modern day honors, a Google Doodle, marking what would have been his 540th birthday.

Copernicus doesn’t come up in day-to-day conversations, but perhaps he should: He is considered the founder of modern astronomy and single-handedly changed the way we think about our place in the universe by positing that the Earth revolved around the sun, and not the other way around. He remains a patron saint to those who like to question the rules.

And, let’s face it: The plots of sci-fi movies and TV shows such as  “Prometheus” and “Star Trek” are all the more fascinating because of our understanding of this great galaxy of ours — and the galaxies beyond. And we have Copernicus, among others, to thank for that.

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Copernicus was born in Poland in 1473 and as a young man became fascinated by math, medicine and science, particularly astronomy. His studies led him to challenge what was then a widely accepted belief — that the Earth stood still in outer space while the sun and other celestial bodies rotated around it. Such findings outraged the Roman Catholic Church.

One problem with Copernicus’ observations: They were made with the naked eye, according to NASA’s StarChild page: It would be years before Galileo was able to confirm Copernicus’ observations using a telescope.

Photos: Google Doodles of 2013

The snazzy Google Doodle shows the universe much as Copernicus believed it to be. Take a moment to enjoy the planets swirling gently around the sun, before you get searching.

Happy birthday, Nicolaus Copernicus!

— Rene Lynch


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111 Responses to Nicolaus Copernicus’ 540th birthday: A man who questioned the rules

  1. Beverly says:

    He questioned the rules to find the truth, not just to question the rules so he could make his own truth.

    • dhydar says:

      Nope. He used his mind to advance knowledge.

    • bayhuntr says:

      He simply followed the facts where they led. I think that is what you are saying, just in a rough way.

    • hbj says:

      Beverly… Copernicus made observations and recorded data to develop a 'hypnosis' that subsequently lead to a fully developed 'theory,' which was later verified to be 'Truth'. Questioning the 'rules' or the 'establishment' (i.e. the catholic church) in his time, doesn't always lead 'you' or 'me' in being successful, it all depends, right-, in developing our own 'truth', it could be just the opposite.

      Question: If you're on the road of 'truth' which most people will tell you today that their on…how could you prove them to be otherwise? You might find that difficult, right? Because they all loosely believed that there were many were on that same road, so it must be 'Truth'. What wold you use to develop your own hypnosis to know otherwise to know what is 'Truth'

      I sincerely believe, Truth is not subjective but, is provable, timeless, and provable like what Galileo did in the case with Copernicus. Truth could never be an 'off the cuff' statement. Truth, is a narrow category, of absolute's that equals the divine of sorts. That why 'provable' science and 'spiritually' are an equal compliment

      If you liked Google's article you should read this month's article of the 'Awake' magazine. The life of of 'Robert Boyle' a chemist that gave us Boyle's Law.



    • Dick says:

      Now if some people would just question their own spelling. Ha.

  2. Paul says:

    you know it realy makes you think how many more modern day beliefs are still in corect

  3. john says:

    Copernicus was a great man, but he got his info from the Sumerians or possibly even an ET visitor.

    • Mary says:

      Philolous gets some credit. He did not believe in the "fixed deirection in space" and believed in the revloution of the planets. Did not get all the planets correct. Believed they revolved around the "central fire". Copernicus gave him credit for that……calling it the sun; however, the information I found said that Philolous believed the sun was one of the planets in orbit around the "central fire".

      • Richard says:

        Which means he mi9ght have beenb refering to the center of the galaxy. We are in one orbit around hthe sun which is the center of the solarsystem which is orbit around the venter of the Milky Way. which makes sense as most pictures depicting the Milky Way as its spiral depicts a huge light at the center. which would be making sense with "Central Fire"

  4. DEON FOSTER says:

    I LOVE GOGGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. SpaceFriday says:

    Reblogged this on SpaceFriday and commented:
    He used evidence to prove a theory. And yet, after all these years, the majority of human beings are still religious.

    • Katie says:

      I'm not sure why being religious relates to his use of evidence. Yes, he challenged a popular belief, and Galileo later used more solid evidence to support Copernicus's claims. But both men were religious and made a point to reconcile their scientific findings with scripture. Religion and science do not need to be mutually exclusive.

      • bayhuntr says:

        There could be a different reason for their attempt to reconcile their scientific finding with scripture; they had no choice. Just like today, if a leader is a free thinker, he can't let it be know, at least in America. He has to find ways to doing what he knows is right, as a secularist, but do it within Christian guidelines. For example it a politician has the secular/science view that some people are just meant to be homosexual, their orientation is set. They have to word their support around Christian concepts. Like "Not for us to judge" or even suggest the words used from the bible to condemn were incorrectly translated. The free thinkers of Copernicus's time would have to of been even more careful, they could have been pit to death.

      • Katie says:

        I understand that some may have to "keep the peace" and work their arguments around popular belief systems, and maybe falsely ascribe to such beliefs to maintain power or influence. But at the same time, we cannot assume that just because they were men of science that they could not also have maintained their faith. This was my main point: the fact the religion and science can work together.

    • David says:

      "He used evidence to prove a theory", unlike some scientist who make a theory a religious dogma like evolutionist! You should know that some of the greatest minds of all times were religious without being dogmatic , like Isaac Newton , Einstein, Tesla , Jung and in more modern tome S.Hawking…their beliefs firmly grounded in evidence.People that make disapprove beliefs of others are equally dogmatic and dangerous as religious sociopaths.

      • Gaf says:

        "Evolutionist" is a term invented by religious people to work essentially as an "I know you are, but what am I?" defense. There is no such thing as dogma in science; those who work dogmatically in science get de-bunked and forgotten by real scientists and history, unless they create some sort of hoodoo cult (think Gurdjieff and Willhelm Reich). People who accept the theory of evolution or natural selection do so because there is evidence, and studies of the history of natural life on this planet have repeatedly validated the theory as a reasonable explanation. You don't get to call something dogma because it disagrees with your own assumptions, nor do you get to call someone dangerous because they claim to have more evidence for their ideas than you do. That kind of irrational attack on ideas differing from your own, my friend, is dogmatic. Study the words, then study the science, then find scientific proof of what you claim, and I'll trust what you say. But before then, you won't convince me of anything. That's science. Think about it: how much has scientific theory changed in the past one hundred years? Thousands of theories have been disproven, and thousands of new theories have been proposed, some rejected and some strengthened through testing. In fact, most scientific ideas from one hundred years ago have been either rejected or replaced with more precise ideas. How much have religious ideas changed in the past hundred years? "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (circa 1740) isn't very far from current Christian ideology. Which is more dogmatic?

  6. Avry Wilson says:

    Copernicus merely usurped an idea from Aristarchos (formed more than a thousand years prior). The Heliocentric model was not the 'initial genius' observation of Copernicus. Why do we continue to teach/report that it was?

    • Rene Lynch says:

      Hey Avry, I've never heard that before. Fascinating. Thank you for sharing (and for taking the time to comment on my story.)

      • Kylah Quintal says:

        Lovely to see a writer open to criticism. Wonderful piece, but like some have pointed out, it may appear a little biased, as well as facts could be supported more; oh and others areas of information haven't been touched. But overall, I must say I did enjoy reading your article (although a little late in the game- hence time), and the constructive criticism posed here on this reply forum.
        Thank you Rene
        Thank you Avry & John

      • Kylah Quintal says:

        Sorry! Must say that I meant to implicate myself on the "little late in the game" comment.

    • TruthInUsNotBooks says:

      Because the Government control's the history books.. they want to feed us lies.

    • sandra says:

      I certainly agree with you

    • Ken says:

      Avry, Good point but I dispute the word "merely" in your statement. It is true the Aristarchus came up with this 1800 years before Copernicus but the idea was never accepted and Copernicus was able to get other scholars to accept and build on his work. Perhaps Copernicus did get the idea from Aristarchus, but if he did he made the point in a way that led to the adoption of the theory by others who built on his work.

      Let's give Aristarchus credit for his theory that history almost forgot, and credit Copernicus for reviving it.

    • Adam says:

      Avry, I'm afraid you have little understanding of how knowledge and sciences develope and accumulate. Aristarchos' was not any "formed model" based on calculated reasoning and supported by observations. His idea was just that, a speculative philosophical idea, that had been repeatedly rejected because it run agains common sense of the times and against other convictions and theories (less or more scientific..). So it remained forgotten and buried in obscurity for ages. The system of Copernicus was a fully developed model, based on the observations and research, that surfaced at the right moment and could be finally accepted albeit not without much resistance from some other scholars and the churches (not only Catholic, by the way – Luther was cursing the devilish ideas as well).

  7. Carolina says:

    Love it this make my day today Thank you

  8. John Riccioli says:

    May I recommend an editorial correction? Paragraph four, last sentence: replace with "The Roman Catholic Church greeted Copernicus's work with respectful excitement." Why? Shortly after Copernicus circulated his first heliocentric proposal in 1514 ("The Commentariolus"), the pope invited Copernicus to Rome to help them revise the general calendar, which was calculated astronomically in that era. The Reformation distracted Rome from the project. Shortly before Copernicus died, he published his "On the heavenly revolutions," encouraged to do so by many and including his uncle who was a bishop. Papal scholars in Rome returned to the calendar revision in the 1570s. Aloysius Lilius and Jesuit mathematician Christopher Clavius were commissioned by the pope to revise the calendar. They used Copernicus's astronomy, and the product is the Gregorian calendar (named after Pope Gregory XIII), which we still use today.
    Strange, I don't find any "outrage" in that story, Rene. Do you? Really? Galileo outraged a lot of people, including Pope Urban VIII. But that didn't happen for another fifty years! And can you really argue that "the Church" was outraged? Rene, celebrate Copernicus for what he did accomplish … for thinking outside the box of a well-established and well-argued system and proposing another for scholarly consideration. Celebrate too the people who, in agreement and disagreement with what he accomplished, however incompletely, forced further research and debate. But spare him the degradation of inserting him into a historically poorly founded myth and one that concerns a problem that emerged two generations after his death. The truth is what we owe great thinkers like Copernicus. jr

    • BT says:

      I wonder if today’s churches are just as welcoming of science discoveries?

    • Grace Sanchez says:

      Well said John! Well said! :)

      • Gaf says:

        Nice try, but the Catholic church wasn't on board with him any more than they were on board with Galileo. His work, including a more correct calendar, which is what you're referring to, was originally published without the heliocentric model. Yes, the church accepted and used the new calendar, but they had no idea of what he had really discovered to get him to it. The revised calendar was easy to accept because it didn't challenge their dogma, so of course they used it. However, there certainly was outrage from the Catholic church when his complete theories were published, by a Protestant publisher, who also went against the Lutheran movement to push the science Copernicus had worked. Both the protestant and the catholic leaders tried to have his work erased because it called literal readings of certain biblical passages into question. The article states it correctly; the detail you've pointed out doesn't change the story of what the article is talking about.

      • John says:

        Gaf, you claim: "However, there certainly was outrage from the Catholic church when his complete theories were published, by a Protestant publisher, who also went against the Lutheran movement to push the science Copernicus had worked."
        I'd be very interested to see a single church document expressing outrage in reaction to the 1543 publication of de Revolutionibus. Can you suggest or cite one?

      • John Riccioli says:

        Really, Gaf, just one church document that expressed outrage to the 1543 publication of De Rev.

      • John Riccioli says:

        Hey, GAF … we're still waiting. jr

    • Joe says:

      I wonder what is next to be challenged in modern science, econ and politics? I see many challenges ahead. (more about how we think and assume more than anything) Manipulation of the truth still reigns king! The truth is still alive although our egocentric perceptions and thus errors keep us from it. imho the catholic church and many others are now big business, like many churches and religions are.This is NOT Gods plan. God will have the last word and change will come.

      • OldManInTheSky says:

        "God will have the last word" As Stephen Colbert would say " That statement has a certain Truthiness to it !!

    • youreyesareweird says:

      " for thinking outside the box of a well-established and well-argued system and proposing another for scholarly consideration." –John Riccioli

      Ha..the previous position of how the universe worked was not well argued nor established!
      It was man arrogant attempt saying, "we are special because this sacred book said there was a sacred invisible entity that said the aforementioned sacred book is sacred. And in that sacred book it says man is special…just 'cause. And that because this sacred book that said the sacred entity said the book was sacred says man is special, then EVERYTHING in the fucking universe must revolve around man!"

      Yah, that's nice and scientific…You know, if religion were like a court case where the defense disproved ONE piece of evidence, then religion would have been debunked 500yrs ago. Too bad religious people are not logical.

      • maybe_not? says:

        The more ancient view arose and was articulated most poignantly by the Greeks, so you may want to hit the </end rant> on your attempt to pin the Geocentric position as a failing of Jews or Christians.

      • John says:

        The geocentric system followed through the Middle Ages is more formally referred to as the Ptolemaic-Aristotelian system, because the celestial model was developed by Ptolemy and the principles of physics derived from Aristotle. It was their authority that medieval astronomers appealled to as they further developed the geocentric mathemamatics of the cosmos. Neither was Jewish or Christian; so I'm curious as to which sacred book or sacred invisible entity of theirs you are referring to and where you find in their writings the assertion that "the universe must revolve around man? jr

    • sdeol says:

      Study of astrology, believe it or not, was much more accurate and precise 500 years ago. If one was to question Copernicus's ability to conclude what the Universe actually looks like may be supported through truth realization. The determination Copernicus made "Earth revolved around the sun, and not the other way around", from a scientific approach may be considered only a theory due to lack of substantial evidence in support of Copernicus's belief. However a reference to the naked eye could be misleading and misunderstood. Because astrologist's in the past have studied the depth of seeing light without use of our two eyes. The universe from a Scientific approach is very minimal as far as accuracy is concerned but as it seems Copernicus may have opted in the use of his two physical eyes.

  9. @HyperLeads says:

    Innovation is great! #Capernicus_The Sun is the Center of our Planetary System

  10. Matt says:

    Copernicus dedicated “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” to Pope Paul III. Also, the “outraged” Roman Catholic Church did not ban it, as the article you reference suggests. A few minutes with Wikipedia would have helped, Rene. Give it a try sometime.

  11. jamesv says:

    LOL "what would have been his 540th birthday"

  12. dhydar says:

    Hmmm….. no mention of the fact that Coprnicus was a Catholic Priest?

    • you dont know me says:

      does it really matter?

    • Observer says:

      Copernicus was not a priest., not a monk. He was a Church Canon at the Fuerst-Bistum Ermland (prince-bishopric of Warmia) in Prussia, also a skolastic at Breslau, Silesia. His uncle, Lucas Watzenrode, who raise him, was a prince-bishop (and governeur). ____Copernicus was a mathematician foremost, had degrees in law and as doctor, took care of government of the diocese in place of prince-bishops and in his spare time researched the sky overlooking the bay at Frauenburg. During his student years he signed in as German national and had taught astronomy in Italy. He went to university at Krakow at a time, when many burghers in Krakow were German. His father had been a tradesman at Krakow (when it was part of Hanseatic League), Koppernigk family dealt in copper in other Hanse cities, like Danzig and Thorn in Prussia etc.

  13. JM71 says:

    Of course, some religions are "welcoming" of scientific discoveries… seeing as how, (Christians), believe that the world was and is created by God…. why would we inhibit man from discovering what God put before us? Furthermore, those that think God is a joke… I'm curious to see how loud you laugh at death?

    Science can be a wonder and a beautiful discovery… or, it can profess the egotistic pride of man.

    Science, should, be more of a testament of a Creator to the Created. As intricate yet seamlessly formed… there is NOTHING that could make this an "accident".

    Denying that there is a Creator based upon the idiocracy and hypocrisy of man masked behind "religion" are not relying on themselves for answers or a Higher Power, but others to decide for them- how sad. You would rather live and die under your own terms than to ask the Creator to define you…

    I'm glad Copernicus went a little further to discover… shouldnt you?

    • eric says:

      science and religion. 2 different words for a reason. keep it seperated

    • NoImaginaryFriend says:

      Your comments regarding atheists would be insulting if they weren't just so profoundly uninformed.

      Those of us who do not believe in god have certainly come to terms with our own mortality. The two go hand in hand. If there is anyone unable to face death, it is surely those stubbornly pretending it isn't *really* coming for them. I enjoy life and I have laughed my way through it; provided it does not come too suddenly to give me the chance, I shall laugh at death too. All things must come to an end, and if we can't laugh on the gallows, where can we laugh?

      I am quite happy to live and die under my own terms. Why aren't you?

      • Philip says:

        Just because you don't believe in heaven or hell doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Please for your own sake consider why you are here and know that there is a God and we are not the result of billions and trillions of accidents. The Bible is truth. I can not make you believe anything but I feel that I must atleast tell you. Read it and find out for yourself if you are not so closedminded. Religion is not what the Bible preaches. religion is of men. The word of God is of God. I recommend the King James Version

      • NoImaginaryFriend says:

        You assumed that I don't believe the Bible is truth because I haven't read it. In fact, it is precisely because I have read it that I don't believe it is truth. Perhaps you didn't read it as carefully as I did.

    • OldManInTheSky says:

      Maybe some atheists don't think god is a joke but rather that some peoples' beliefs in gods are a joke. An old man in the sky with a white beard, floating arcs, talking snakes, virgin births. I would also argue that the "hypocrisy of man masked behind religion" probably works in favor of an atheists' view. Aren't the religious really the ones that are letting others decide for them on answers of a higher power? Beliefs being passed down from generation upon generation? Science does not claim to know all the answers. Science looks for evidence to support reality. Religion says it knows all answers and has many stories for all to refer to in their various holy books. Problem is, I think it was humans that wrote all of those books.

  14. Sarah says:

    This article claims that the Roman Catholic Church was outraged by Copernicus' findings – but if you look into the real facts and reliable sources you will find that that assertion is merely a product of stereotype and bias against the Catholic Church. It received far more resistance from the Protestant movement and Martin Luther. (Copernicus was a catholic priest!!)

  15. John Crawford says:

    Today is Nicolaus Copernicus's 540th birthday. Coincidence? I think not.

  16. Pons says:

    Can I know the reason why there are only seven planets revolving around the sun in the Google Doodle for today?

  17. moldy says:

    Think of how many people are in jail or prison that have ventured into the relm of free thinking. You would be very surprised to know that many are in these jails today for not agreeing with the "church" or "state".

  18. alexi acevedo says:

    2013 innovation is great! Fe O…

  19. Robert says:

    I want to know how they did the graphic to change planes and move forward and behind one another. I'm thinking cleaver masks and strategic timing on image swaps. Oh, this was about something more than geeky graphic techniques?

    • you dont know me says:

      doable in any autocad program. draw a sphere put motion to it, draw aother and another and another put motion to all of them, no masks or image swaps, your thinking to hard..

    • you dont know me says:

      no spheres just circles, entire thing just got 100x easier

  20. Observer says:

    Nicolaus Copernicus lived by the truth and would tell you, that he was NOT born in Poland.

    The documents of the town show, that he was born Niklas Koppernigk in Thorn, Prussia. He held Prussian Ius Indigenatus (citizenship). He moved to Frauenburg, Ermland or Warmia, a Prince-Bishopric, in Prussia. (which during Reformation became the first Protestant state, but the western part during the struggles came under protection of the crown of Poland-Lithuania and thus remained Catholic). After his studies abroad, he did all his observations, overlooking the (Frisches Haff) bay at the Baltic Sea. His uncle Lucas Watzenrode had governed as prince-bishop. As canon Copernicus was active in Prussian government as well. In the 20th century this land was conquered by communist Soviets, who handed it to Poland.

    • lucky says:

      Observer. Where did you get all this your information ?
      I guess from Main Kampf ?

    • Tom says:

      One might argue that Prussia, at the time of Copernicus was more Polish than German (with high level of independence). His father was from Cracow. Applying today’s citizenships to Copernicus might be a mistake, but bringing up 20th Century political situation does not make sense at all. Google was cautious and listed him as both German and Polish.

    • Pawel says:

      Umm… what?

      Learning basic history is really not that hard in this day and age. Try:

      If Wikipedia is not "truth" enough for you, how about UNESCO's description of the city's history (from

      "The peak of Torun's prosperity was in the second half of the 14th and the first half of the 15th century. At the same time tension developed between the citizens and the Teutonic Order, leading eventually to an uprising in 1454, followed by the expulsion of the Knights and the incorporation of the town and its surrounding region into the Kingdom of Poland. … The Swedish wars and the crisis in Poland in the 17th century brought Torun's prosperity to an end. It came under Prussian rule in 1793, when it became known under its German name, Thorn."

  21. alexi acevedo says:

    2013 innovation is great! Fe Opernicus-540th-birthday-a-man-who-questioned-the universe.

  22. OSasco says:

    Who was the ignorant journalist who wrote this article. This is ridicuous.

  23. Kopernikfan says:

    Observer…you are a master spin doctor…what are you trying to say that he was not Polish? You should learn a little bit more about history of land that you call Prussia and then post on internet. You made my day hahahhaa

  24. Rona says:

    That is so cool I did not know about nicolaus coppernicus

    until I saw this picture on google

  25. Justin says:

    It is a FACT that Nicolaus Copernicus was a skittle lover. TASTE THE RAINBOW!!!

  26. Weezer says:

    Does this doodle suggest that everything revolves around Google?

  27. To be accurate... says:

    These ideas about Copernicus' nationality being other than Polish gained their origin in 1930's Germany. You cannot ignore that Copernicus was born in the Kingdom of Poland; his father was from Krakow (Poland's capital) and was active in support of the Polish Kingdom; his mother was Polish; Copernicus studied at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow; he was Catholic; he spoke Polish (as well as German, Latin, etc); and he LED a Polish battalion against the Germans when defending Warmia from German attack. Do not forget that at this time the Teutonic Knights were active in the Germanization of Prussia – which up until the Knights appeared was purely Slavic. Prussia in those times was not the same Prussia that ultimately became the nucleus for Germany.

  28. Guest says:

    Nicky was one of my favorite. What he contributed enabled a paradigm shift in comprehending nature. The net one is even bigger as energy itself is redefined.

  29. Raji says:

    seriously, why only 7 planets? has anything else been disqualified like poor pluto ? :-P

    • Clint says:

      I just rechecked the doodle and see 6 planets, the sun, and Earth's moon. No other planets (or other moons) were known in Copernicus' time.

  30. Michael says:

    Are you people serious? This was set up to honor a man for his discoveries by thinking outside the box and all you can do is argue religion. Get a life people. Wars are started this way.

  31. Siwell Lewis says:

    I too have a pensive thought considering there is 9 planets in our SS and recently more planets have been discovered while there is just 7 planets represented in the gif or flash video on the google home page. Still this is not a major issue tho cause I admire the art but like all other art it covey a self perceptible meaning.

  32. wayne says:

    Copernicus was a German born in what is now Poland. He was also a Catholic preist. He had his work published after his death because he knew the dire consequences of his discovery. A generation or two later, Galileo confirmed Copernicus and was threatened with torture and death by the Church, so he recanted his observations.

  33. Philip says:

    I don't know much about Nicolaus Copernicus but I was curious so I read.I was happily surprised to see so many comments that thought that the artical was anti-christian. I also find it amazing when people say that because there is science there is no God. I still don't know much about him based on the article but it seems to propose that Copernicus was opposed to the Word of God. The wisdom of God should be sought after and any scientific discoveries that go contrary to God's word is false and those that believe it or profess it are deceiving and being deceived much like II Timothy 3:13.

  34. Philip says:

    The bible says many things about the universe that took scientists centuries to discover without God. The book of Job is thought to be the first book in the bible to actually be written predating the time of Moses possibly about the time of the tower of Babel. The year when it was penned is unknown, but rest assured that it is old. Job 26:7 reads "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." revealing that the earth is a planet in a void of nothing that we now call space. How could Job know this and other truths of the world and of the heavens without it being revealed by God? I know this is one little example but to anyone that doubts the bible I urge you to please read it and pray to God for knowledge the best way that you know how. I read the King James Version and I recommend it above all others for many reasons but this is getting long so if you want to know why then ask. May the Lord bless you.

  35. In 1466 the 2nd peace of Thorn: The treaty stated that Royal Prussia became the exclusive property of the Polish king and Polish kingdom. Poland then ruled the land for the next 300 years until her partition. Poland then regained her lands after World War l and the the 2nd Republic governed these lands again. After World War ll the Soviets did not "hand" the land over to Poland. Torun was just too far inside Poland to steal, which the Soviets did to much of Eastern Poland and the old Polish-Lithuanian Commomwealth.

  36. OldManInTheSky says:

    I actually opened your link to the New Advent and if you'll go back and read it, it does indeed state that due to prevailing hostility against the Copernican system, only the chapter on triginometry was printed. A man named Rheticus was employed to publish Copernicus manuscripts because he was 68 yrs. old and getting weaker. Later when Rheticus tried to resume his chair at Wittenberg, on account of his Copernican views, was forced to resign.
    Sadly, Copernicus was handed the first copy of " The six books on the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbits" on the day he died !
    So from what I have read, Rene may have done her research quite well indeed and many of you have been too quick to criticize her ! Maybe an apology is in order here but I guess Rene won't be holding her breath for one.

    • Matt says:

      Old Man: To expand on what you have presented. If you read closely, you will see that it was Copernicus’ peers who were hostile to his ideas. And you will see that it was members of the Catholic Church who implored him to share his ideas, and at the Church’s expense. He was initially hesitant because he feared the wrath of his contemporaries, other scientists, not the Church. The Catholic Church does not fear truth.

      • OldManInTheSky says:

        Matt: I thought I had read the article on New Advent pretty closely and I don't recall it specifying the wrath of his contemporaries. I'd like to go back and re-read it but I've lost the link. As far as the Catholic church not fearing the truth, do I really need to remind you of the ongoing child sex abuse scandals that were hidden from the flock for so many years along with countless relocation of accused priests? I'm not saying that you or any other catholic should take it personally as a hit against your religion. It is the Hierarchy of the church that is at fault here. They may be tax-exempt but that doesn't mean they should be exempt from the laws that protect our children from sexual preditors. Agreed ?

      • Matt says:

        Ha! It didn’t take you long to pull out the child sex abuse card, Old Man. But in this discussion, we are talking about scientific truths (heliocentrism, remember?). And the Church has no fear of scientific discovery.

      • OldManInTheSky says:

        Pull out the child sex abuse card ? Dude, you swung the door out so wide open, I could not help myself. Saying that the church does not fear the truth is going to get that kind of response from anybody that has been paying attention to the news for even a short amount of time. You must admit that a crime is a crime and should be prosecuted regardless of what social status, especially when it comes to abusing the most helpless.

  37. Maria says:

    Google is great at educating people !!!!

  38. megaterang says:

    Thank you John Riccioli for setting the record straight. Not only did the news of a heliocentric universe not outrage the Catholic Church but as you rightly noted Copernicus was invited to Rome to revise the calander – his life's work from that point on. And He was honored by the Pope and the Church as whole at his death. (read the Eulogy). It is so tiring to hear the same old revisionist history about the Catholioc Church. The institution that did more for the advancement of science then any other institution in the history of the world.
    Also, (in answer to Avry Wilson above) while the idea was around even before Aristarcos – we give credit to Copernicus because he didn't just spout the idea he came up with a model that rivaled Ptolemy's model. Ptolemy's model was still more accurate believe it or not because Copernicus used circular orbits not eliptical – so while the heliocentric model did explain a lot of things it was still not as good at predicting the locations of celestial objects. It took Galileo's telescopic observations of the phases of Venus to confirm what Copernicus had predicted.

  39. harsh says:

    Aryabhatta born in Kerala, India in 2700 BC, was the first to calculate Pi of 3.1416 and the solar year of 365.358 days . He propounded a heliocentric universe 4200 years before Copernicus, with elliptically orbiting planets and a spherical earth spinning on its axis explaining the motion of the heavens. He was the father of plane / spherical Trigonometry and Algebra, when Europe was in the dark ages.. Today you don't see this pioneers name in the list of top 100 mathematicians.
    Aryabhatta was the first to compute the circumference of the earth, with an error of just 64 miles.. Aryabhatta gave a method to find the cube root of numbers and dealt with arithmetic,geometric and indeterminate equations in algebra. He dealt with square, cube, triangle, trapezium, circle and sphere in geometry. He was called Arjehir by the Arabs.
    Poor Galileo copied Aryabhatta 4 millennium years later , that the earth is round and circles the sun , and the church blinded him , so that he can never look into another telescope .

    Typical of the west to steal and propagate it as their own, like everything else. Give credit where credit is due, this is plagiarism of the worst type. India has been the center of spiritual & scientific discovery thousands of years before western copy cats claimed it as their own and wrote the history books.

    do the research

  40. Soterios Gardiakos says:

    In the original manuscript (which still exists) Copernicus gave full credit to the Greek astronomer Aristarchus. As his book was published after his death the publisher edited Copernicus manuscript and omitted all references to Aristarchus for reasons unknown.
    Galileo did not prove Copernicus theory but on the contrary failed to prove it.. He failed because Galileo believed that the planets revolved in perfect circles, which they do not, the revolve in an elliptical orbit. In the end the system devised by Ptolemy more accurately predicted the movement of the heavenly bodies.
    It was not until Kepler, after reading a book by Henry the navigator on ellipses, and using Brahes observations decided to predict the movement of the heavenly based on elliptical orbits rather than perfect circle orbits that the accuracy of the position of the heavenly bodies exceeded those predicted by Ptolemy.

  41. sinequanon77 says:

    What did I gather from this reading & comment ? This one : A fact which proofed that not always what the majority of man think and believe is by all means true and correct.

  42. Observer says:

    In answer to some odd entries:

    A 1597 print by de Bry shows Nicolaus Copernicus Tornaeus Borussus Mathematicus , the Prussian Mathematician from Thorn.

    An article at todays Torun/Poland University… states that Copernicus was born in Royal Prussia, with a 16. century map of Prussia. The country was actually not called Koenigliches Preussen (Royal Prussia) until the 18. century, when the crown of Poland-Lithuania was held by German Kurfuersten, (prince-electors). They were the protectors/overlords of the western part of Prussia. The country nevertheless had its own borders, constitution, money, military and nationality. Thus Copernicus was always a citizen of Prussia, not born in Poland, not Polish.

  43. Bren says:

    The probability is most likely that Copernicus was a Catholic priest. Some are trying to revise history now saying Copernicus was not an ordained priest contrary to most history books which say he was a Catholic priest. Copernicus was called a canon during his lifetime. Being called a canon during the time of Copernicus meant one of following: an ordained priest or a member of the Canons Regular (priests who live in community) attached to major churches and cathedrals. In Catholic church parlance, a cleric may not be an ordained priest but a canon is always an ordained priest. Also, during the time of Copernicus, one who studied Canon Law most likely was a priest because it was beyond the theological studies necessary for ordination to the priesthood. Today many lay people can study Canon Law but not during the time of Copernicus. If he was a layman it would be more profitable for him to study Civil Law. The probability of Copernicus being a priest is most likely than not. Those who have been asserting that Copernicus was not a priest are mostly Protestants and atheists. Even Galileo acknowledged that Copernicus was a Catholic priest.

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