History Of Astronomy Thesis

History Of Astronomy Thesis-61
The greatest theoretician of the 18th century was Laplace (1749–1827), who worked on the mechanics of the planets and Solar System.

The greatest theoretician of the 18th century was Laplace (1749–1827), who worked on the mechanics of the planets and Solar System.

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But Aristarchus has brought out a book consisting of certain hypotheses, wherein it appears, as a consequence of the assumptions made, that the universe is many times greater than the 'Universe' just mentioned.

His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the Sun remain unmoved, that the Earth revolves about the Sun on the circumference of a circle, the Sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and that the sphere of fixed stars, situated about the same center as the Sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the Earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the center of the sphere bears to its surface.

The rejection of the heliocentric view was apparently quite strong, as the following passage from Plutarch suggests (On the apparent face in the orb of the Moon): Cleanthes [a contemporary of Aristarchus and head of the Stoics] thought it was the duty of the Greeks to indict Aristarchus of Samos on the charge of impiety for putting in motion the Hearth of the universe [i.e. Seleucus' arguments for a heliocentric theory were probably related to the phenomenon of tides.

As noted by Copernicus himself, the suggestion that the Earth rotates (goes round on its axis) was very old, dating at least to Philolaus (c. About a century before Copernicus, Nicholas of Cusa also proposed that the Earth rotates on its axis in his book, On Learned Ignorance (1440).

He showed the frictional resistance against tidal currents on the Earth's surface must cause a very gradual slowing of the earth's rotation. Also, he laid out a nebular hypothesis, in which he deduced that the Solar System formed from a large cloud of gas, a nebula.

Following Wright, Kant also thought the Milky Way was a large disk of stars formed from a (much larger) spinning cloud of gas.

A significant astronomical advance of the 18th century was the realization by Thomas Wright (1711–1786) that the "fixed stars" were not scattered at random, but concentrated in what we now call the "galactic plane", our view of the Milky Way.

Kant (1724–1804), known today for his philosophy, made some important discoveries about the nature of the Earth's rotation.

He got a rough idea of where we are in the galaxy, and could see other spiral galaxies.

He called them "island universes" like the Milky Way.


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