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Download Cosmic Vistas: A Popular History of Astronomy by Biman Basu PDF

By Biman Basu

This publication is on celestial items and the way with advances in know-how, the telescope and different commentary instruments can demonstrate the genuine nature of celestial our bodies just like the Moon, the planets and Milky manner and the way the options of remark have been sophisticated which may exhibit fuel clouds, quasars, pulsars and radiation.

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So, he reasoned, it would be absurd for so large a body as the Sun to revolve around so small a body as the Earth. And he came out with the suggestion that the Sun must be at the centre of the solar system and that the Earth and the other planets must be revolving around it. It was a revolutionary idea, but had no takers. The idea of the Earth, the abode of mankind, being at the centre of the universe was deeply ingrained in the minds of the people and was accepted as a religious dogma and no one dared to challenge it.

It was around this time that a curious thought occurred to him. At that time, only six planets visible to the naked eye were known, namely, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Kepler wondered why only six? Why not 20, or 100? Kepler also knew that there were five regular or 'platonic' solids, whose sides were regular polygons, as known to the ancient Greek mathematicians, since the time of Pythagoras. He thought that the two numbers were connected, and that PLANETARY PATHS 41 the five regular solids when nested one within another would perfectly specify the distances of the planets from the Sun.

12: The Sun-centred system of Copernicus that revolutionised astronomy. PLACE O F THE SUN 33 Although Copernicus had found the real clue to the motion of the planets by 1514, he was hesitant to make it public, afraid of being ridiculed and rejected by the Church, which had little regard for scientific ideas. ) His fear was not unfounded; dethroning Earth from its hallowed position as the centre of the universe could be construed as blasphemy. And without the Church accepting it, it would be impossible to get the western world accept the new theory.

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