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But no astronomer has noticed such shifts in vision for centuries.

But Ptolemy's system still continued to dominate. Why? Because it was supported by the omnipotent church, which suppressed free scientific thought, which hindered the development of science. In addition, scholars who refuted Ptolemy's teachings and expressed correct views on the structure of the universe could not yet convincingly substantiate them.

The first to challenge the Catholic Church was Nicolaus Copernicus. In his book On the Rotation of the Celestial Spheres, he denounced the clergy, accusing them of complete ignorance of the structure of the universe. After thirty years of hard work, long deliberations and complex mathematical calculations, he showed that the planets revolve around the Sun, and the Earth is a planet, so it also moves.

Copernicus did not live to see his book spread throughout the world, revealing to people the truth about the structure of the universe.

Copernicus was born in 1473 in the Polish city of Toruń. He lost early. parents, so he was raised by his uncle – Lukash Vachenrode, a prominent public and political figure of the time. Copernicus was interested in various sciences since childhood. His student years were spent in Italian universities, where astronomy was studied under Ptolemy. Copernicus, fascinated by this subject, began to carefully buy best compare and contrast essay now study the surviving works of great ancient mathematicians and astronomers. Even then he had thoughts about the correctness of Aristarchus' guesses and the falsity of Ptolemy's system.

After returning from Italy, Copernicus engaged in public activities, taking an active part in the management of the region: he was in charge of its financial, economic and other affairs. But at the same time he was constantly thinking about the true structure of the solar system and gradually came to his great discovery.

How did the works of Copernicus deal a devastating blow to the system of Ptolemy, whose patron for almost fourteen centuries was the Catholic Church? Why did the church condemn Copernicus' ideas? After all, the heliocentric system of Copernicus was significantly simpler than the system of Ptolemy. Recognition of the rotation of the Earth around the axis eliminated the need to talk about the diurnal motion of the stellar sphere and all celestial bodies; the rotation of the Earth around the Sun explained both the annual motion of the Sun in the celestial sphere and the loops of the reverse motion of the planets. At first, the Catholic Church accepted Copernicus' ideas calmly.

But in 1583, the Dominican monk Giordano Bruno, introduced with the theory of Copernicus, expressed his warm support for it and, in addition, offered his ideas about infinite stellar space. Catholic clergy recognized Bruno's statement as heretical and condemned him to be burned at the stake as a heretic. But Bruno's passionate propaganda of Copernicus' ideas led to the Catholic Church's anathema and theory. 70 years after its publication, the work “On the Rotation of the Celestial Spheres” was included in the list of banned books.

In his book, Nicolaus Copernicus argued that the Earth and other planets are satellites of the Sun. He showed that it is the movement of the Earth around the Sun with its diurnal rotation around its axis that explains the visible movement of the Sun, the strange entanglement in the motion of the planets and the visible rotation of the sky. Brilliantly, Copernicus explained that we perceive the motion of distant celestial bodies as well as the movement of various objects on Earth when we are in motion.

Our raft floats on a calm river, and it seems to us that the raft and we are motionless, and “float” in the opposite direction of the river bank. The same illusion is our individual impression that the Sun is moving around the Earth. In fact, the Earth moves around the Sun and during the year makes a complete revolution along its orbit. In addition, Copernicus was firmly convinced that the stars move at a constant speed in a circle.

From the above it is clear that Copernicus, explaining the universe, did not agree with religion, while rejecting any authority of the church in science, and it becomes clear why Copernicus' theories caused outrage among church ministers. Despite the fact that Copernicus had many supporters who accepted his theory, the church began a fierce persecution of followers of his teachings.

The second man after Copernicus to play a crucial role in establishing a heliocentric system was Johann Kepler (1571-1630). He proved that the orbits of all the planets are elongated circles – ellipses, which dealt a devastating blow to geocentric theory with its constant uniform circular motion.

Kepler was born in the German state of Württemberg in the small town of Vejle to a very poor family. His whole life was a series of endless trials. From 1600 he closely studied the motion of Mars. By long-term selection of combinations of epicycles, deferents, eccentrics, and equivalents to best match the calculated results with the visible movement of Mars, he concluded that the orbit of this planet should be an ellipse.

In addition, Kepler argued that the shifts in vision are not noticeable due to the incredibly vast distances that separate them from our planet. At the same time, Copernicus believed that the stars are motionless. Proponents of Ptolemy, for example, argued that if the Earth moved in space, then when observing the sky at different times, it would be seen that the stars also change their position in the sky. But no astronomer has noticed such shifts in vision for centuries. That's it. proponents of Ptolemy's teaching saw evidence of the immobility of the Earth. From this it is obvious that Kepler was right: the motion of the stars was really impossible to observe because of the great distances. Only in 1837 did the Russian astronomer V. Ya. Struve begin to determine the exact distances to the stars.

The teachings of Copernicus, Kepler and other scientists refuted the very foundations of the religious worldview and opened a wide path to materialist, truly scientific knowledge of natural phenomena. Although some of Kepler's ideas were not immediately accepted by supporters of Copernicus' theory, no one could deny the simplicity of the new system and the accuracy of its predictions of the position of the planets.

As already mentioned, the idea of ​​a heliocentric Copernican universe was not immediately recognized, although in some circles it found its support. Thus, Giordano Bruno, developing the teachings of Copernicus, argued that the universe has no center and can not have a center, that the Sun – is only the center of the solar system. He also expressed the ingenious idea that the stars are the same luminaries as our Sun, with planets moving around countless stars, many of which have intelligent life. Neither the torture nor the hearth of the Inquisition broke the will of Giordano Bruno, did not force him to renounce his own views.

In 1609, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) made a discovery that clearly confirmed the theory of Copernicus. In the telescope he saw on the surface of the Moon craters, lowlands, “seas” which were to some extent similar to the earth's surface and did not constitute a fundamental difference between “earthly” and “heavenly”. Galileo discovered four moons of Jupiter. their movement around Jupiter refuted the misconception that only the Earth is the center of celestial bodies.

Galileo found that Venus, like the moon, changes its phases. Thus, Venus is a spherical body that shines with reflected sunlight. Studying the peculiarities of the change in the appearance of Venus, Galileo found that it moves not around the Earth, but around the Sun. He saw spots on the Sun and, observing them, determined that the Sun revolved around its axis. It turns out that for various celestial bodies, such as the Sun, is characterized by axial rotation. Finally, he discovered that the Milky Way is a set of faint stars, invisible to the naked eye. So, the universe has a grand scale, and it would be extremely naive to think that it makes a complete revolution around the little Earth in a day.

Galileo presented his discoveries in the book “Dialogue on the two most important systems in the world” built in the form of a dispute between two characters, one – a supporter of the traditional teachings of Aristotle, the other – a supporter of the Copernican system … The arbitrator was a third character, whom each of the two opponents tried to attract to his side. The “dialogue” angered the Catholic Church, especially Pope Urban VIII, who saw himself as a supporter of Aristotle's teachings.

In 1633 Galileo appeared before the court of the Inquisition. The old scientist was forced to renounce his own views and was kept under the supervision of the Inquisition for the rest of his life. Only in 1992 did the Catholic Church acquit Galileo.

The execution of Bruno, the official ban on the teachings of Copernicus, the trial of Galileo could not stop the spread of Copernicus' theory. Johann Kepler, Isaac Newton, MV Lomonosov and other scientists have made many discoveries based on this doctrine.


Galaxy. Star worlds. Universe. Abstract

We know the structure of the universe in the vast expanse of space that takes billions of years to cross. But the inquisitive thought of man seeks to penetrate further


From the seventeenth century, the most important goal of astronomers was to study the Milky Way – this giant collection of stars that Galileo saw in his telescope. The efforts of many generations of astronomers-observers were aimed at finding out the total number of stars in the Milky Way, determining its true shape and boundaries, and estimating its size. Only in the XIX century was it realized that this is the only system that contains all the visible stars. Our Sun is included in this system on an equal footing with everyone, and with it the Earth and the planets. And they are located not in its center, but on its outskirts.

It took many more decades of careful observation and deep reflection before the structure of the Galaxy was fully revealed to astronomers. This is how the stellar system we see, of course, from the inside, is called the Milky Way. (The word “galaxy” is derived from the modern Greek “galaktikos” meaning “milk”.)

It turned out that the Galaxy has a fairly correct structure and shape, despite the apparent rags of the Milky Way, the mess with which, it seems to us, the stars are scattered across the sky. It consists of a disk, a halo and a crown. As can be seen from the schematic drawing, the disk is like two folded edges of the plates. It is formed by stars, which within this volume move in almost circular orbits around the center of the Galaxy.