Major Contributors To The Development Of Modern Astronomy Excelsior Essay

1242 words - 5 pages

Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, created and supported the theory that the sun
sits motionless in the middle of the universe. He also supported the idea of the planets orbiting
around the sun in unison at consistent speeds. This became known as the “heliocentric” theory.
“Helio” meaning “sun” and “centric” meaning “centered”(Britannica 2018). After his death, few
scientists supported his theory. The “Copernican” theory wasn’t widely accepted until more than
100 years after his death.
Four other major contributors to the development of modern astronomy were Tycho
Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton. Tycho Brahe was a Danish explorer
who was able to pinpoint the location of Mars without a telescope . In fact, the telescope was
invented twenty years after Brahe’s discovery (USA.gov Staff, “1500s”). German scientist,
Johannes Kepler, discovered three major laws of planetary motion that he referred to as “celestial
harmonies that reflected God’s design for the universe” (Westman, 2018). These three
discoveries were: “(1) the planets move in elliptical orbits with the Sun at one focus; (2) The
radius vector describes equal areas in equal times. and (3) The squares of the periodic times are
to each other as the cubes of the mean distances.)”(Gould, 2016) Isaac Newton contributed the
law of gravitation to modern astronomy, it states that: “any particle of matter in the universe
attracts any other with a force varying directly as the product of the masses and inversely as the
square of the distance between them” (The Editors of Britannica Encyclopedia, 2016).
“The concept of ourselves as the center of the universe was no easier for human societies
to give up than it is for individuals.”(Calvo, "Historic Dispute : Is Earth the center of the
universe?")
It was easier to understand what was seen and physically experienced. Ancient peoples saw the
sun rise and set everyday, in the same patterns and the stars seemed to move across the sky. This
activity implicated a cycle and therefore revolution. (Calvo, “Historic Dispute: Is Earth the
center of the universe?”)
This is even seen in society today with the issue of global warming. Scientists are
usually the first to discover things that may seem difficult for society to understand or accept.
After time passes and more proof is available --in a form that we can understand-- it is easier for
us to comprehend. Religion played a role in astronomy and scientific theories which is another
aspect that plays a role in our beliefs today.
“Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their
environments” (National Geographic Society, 2012). Geography can be further broken down into
physical geography (which is related to the natural sciences) and human geography (which is
related to social science) (Hess & McKnight, 2017). A good definition for geography is “a study
very broad in scope than any other discipline, “pulling” its objects of study from...

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