Google honors heliocentric pioneer Copernicus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

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>>

  • Interpol seeks clues to Thai 'baby factory'

    Interpol seeks clues to Thai 'baby factory'

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:25:01 GMT
    Interpol said Friday it has launched a multinational investigation into what Thailand has dubbed the "Baby Factory" case: a 24-year-old Japanese businessman who has 16 surrogate babies and an alleged desire to...More >>
    Interpol said it has launched a multinational investigation into what Thailand has dubbed the "Baby Factory" case: a 24-year-old Japanese businessman who has 16 surrogate babies and an alleged desire to father hundreds more.More >>
  • Costa Rica to investigate US anti-Cuba program

    Costa Rica to investigate US anti-Cuba program

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:54 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:54:58 GMT
    Costa Rica's director of intelligence and security says his government will investigate undercover U.S. programs based in the Central American country that were designed to destabilize the government in Cuba.More >>
    The Costa Rican government will investigate undercover U.S. programs operated from the Central American country and using its citizens in a ploy to destabilize the government in Cuba, the director of intelligence and...More >>
  • West condemns Russia over convoy to Ukraine

    West condemns Russia over convoy to Ukraine

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:55 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:55:56 GMT
    Ukraine's armed forces say they have caused heavy casualties among pro-Russian separatist forces, although their overall advance quelling the rebel resistance remains haphazard and faltering.More >>
    Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated sharply on Friday as Moscow sent more than 130 trucks rolling across the border in what it said was a mission to deliver humanitarian aid. Ukraine called it a "direct...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.