Before Europe’s scientific revolution many people held the Ptolemaic Aristotelian view of the universe. The contention of this theory is that the earth was at the center of our solar system instead of the sun. Also, all planets and all of the heavenly bodies would be perfectly spherical. Moreover, all these planets would orbit in a perfectly circular course at a fixed speed. This view is now known as the Geocentric Theory.
However, with the rise of scientific understanding men such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton were able to shed some much needed light on this issue. Although their theories were not entirely truthful to scientific fact, they certainly were headed in the right direction. For instance:
- Copernicus proved that instead of the earth being at the center of the solar system it was in fact the sun that was at the center. Therefore all planets would revolve around the sun and not the earth.
- Kepler showed that planet orbit was elliptical and not circular. Also, the speed at which a planet would orbit is not constant. It was Kepler’s contention that depending on the distance from the planet to the sun a planet would orbit at different speeds.
- Galileo through his magnificent telescope confirmed that planets were not perfectly spherical. he was able to see that on numerous planets and on the moon that there were craters and hills, therefore disproving people’s previous view.
- Newton delved into the complex world of gravity. He showed that every material thing in the universe has a gravitational force and the larger the item the greater the force. Hence, the reason why people, trees, and buildings (to name a few) stick to the ground and are not flying around all over the place is because the earth’s gravitational force keeps us on the ground.
With the discoveries of these four men various other scientists have come along to add their findings, until the sound current Heliocentric Theory was formed.