Galileo and the Church.docx

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Earth & Environmental Sciences
EESC 1175
Alan Kafka

Galileo and the Church Science and Religion History: • 1616  The Church condemned a sun-centered solar system, believing that the Earth was the center o They ordered Galileo to abandon his views of a sun-centered solar system o He refused  so he was tried and convicted of “proclaiming a doctrine contrary to religious doctrine”  Put under house arrest for the last 10 years of his life • 1992  The Church forgave Galileo Galilei Motion of the Planets: According to Greek studies (600 BC – 150 BC) • Geocentric = earth was in the center of the universe o The earth was believed to be spherical, motionless and surrounded by the “celestial sphere”  a transparent hollow sphere  Stars hung on the celestial sphere and were carried on a daily trip around the Earth (ex. the stars rise and set like the Sun and Moon)  Except for SEVEN objects (Sun, Moon, and 5 wandererMercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) • “Wanderer” = Greek word for planet • Claudius Ptolemy o Ptolemaic System = the geocentric model of the universe (141 BC) Problem  “Retrograde Motion” of the planets o Planets moved eastward against the background of the stars, but occasionally they appeared to stop, reverse direction for several weeks, then resume in eastward motion Solution  Epicycle = each planet’s small circular path Deferent = the larger circular path that a planet takes while it orbits around another object Obstacle  During the Renaissance, his calculations were no longer relevant • Nicholas Copernicus (1473 – 1543) o Heliocentric = the sun is the center of the universe  First suggested by Aristarchus in the 3 century BC as a solution to the planets’retrograde motion  Problem  WHY CAN’T THE SUN BE IN THE CENTER? • The Earth would have to be moving… BUT: o The Earth doesn’t feel like it’s moving o Parallax: a phenomenon in which the stars would seem to have different relative positions when the Earth was in motion, rather than everything having the same position while the Earth was motionless o The Bible  humans should be the central purpose of creation, so why aren’t we the center of the universe o Facts of Copernicus’Time: 1. The Earth is planet, just like the other five wanderers 2. The daily motion of “heavenly objects” could be explained by the rotation of the Earth 3. The Sun is at the center of the Solar System a. Planets orbit the Sun in circles • Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630) o Attempted to make a more accurate model of the position of the planets to compensate for Copernicus’observable mistakes  Result  rather than a circular path, the planets take an elliptical path • Ellipse = a geometric curve with the sum of the differences from two fixed points (foci) is a constant The lower the eccentricity, the closer
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