National Post Staff | Feb 19, 2013 3:26 PM ET | Last Updated: Feb 19, 2013 4:34 PM ET
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For all his efforts, Nicolaus Copernicus is at the centre of the space-exploration universe. The astronomer, born 540 years ago today, has a crater on the moon and a NASA trajectory system. In 2009, German scientists honoured Copernicus with his own element on the periodic table: copernicium.
Wikimedia CommonsCopernicus's heliocentric solar system.
U.S. and British scientists launched his namesake was launched into orbit by U.S. and British scientists in 1972 a Copernicus observatory (OAO-3) into orbit. And, the most tribute of all, Captain Kirk and Spock got a lift on the shuttlecraft Copernicus in Star Trek: The Final Frontier.
Tuesday, he added another one more tribute to his name as Google created a solar system-themed doodle to mark his 540th birthday.
Widely regarded as the father of modern astronomy, Copernicus made his most significant mark on science in his dying days with De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) — which disposed entirely of the belief that Earth is the centre of the universe.
He argued, persuasively, that the Earth rotates on its axis daily, it, along with the other planets he observed, orbit the Sun. Making it more impressive: he did this without the aid of a telescope.
Copernicus was born in Poland Feb. 19, 1473, and was raised by his uncle, who was determined to provide a good education. His wish was fulfilled, evidently; Copernicus studied law, medicine, geography and astronomy, the last of which he was encouraged to pursue by his University of Bologna mathematics professor Domenico Maria de Novara.
In 1530, Copernicus finished De Revolutionibus Orbin Coelestium, which was published in 1543. He died shortly afterward on May 24, 1543.
After his death, astronomers continued to build on his heliocentric theory. In the 1600s Johannes Kepler proposed orbits occurred in elliptical patterns. Galileo Galillei also backed up Copernicus in 1632 by claiming the Earth orbited the Sun, but was placed under house arrest for committing heresy against the Catholic church.
Yea...., a real Polish space cadet .(smile)