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Announcements. Homework 2 due today First midterm test next week (W or Th), in Science Testing Center (SL 228); covers homework 1-3, lectures through 9/18 Questions on motion of the stars, sun, moon, or planets as viewed from earth? First project is due one month from today!

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announcements
Announcements
  • Homework 2 due today
  • First midterm test next week (W or Th), in Science Testing Center (SL 228); covers homework 1-3, lectures through 9/18
  • Questions on motion of the stars, sun, moon, or planets as viewed from earth?
  • First project is due one month from today!
  • Polar graph paper is posted on web site
  • Astrophotographers email me today if you haven’t already
aristotelian physics and chemistry
Aristotelian Physics and Chemistry

Terrestrial Series

Celestial Series

Fi

Fire

Et

Ether

Ai

Air

(A pure, transparent, luminous substance found only in the heavens)

Wa

Water

Ea

Earth

“Gravity” = tendency of Earth and Water to sink toward the center of the universe (opposite of “levity”)

epicycles to explain retrograde motion
Epicycles to explain retrograde motion

Epicycle

Planet

Earth

Deferent

Ptolemy also used minor epicycles, off-center circles, and other geometrical tricks to explain details of planetary motion.

the copernican revolution

The Copernican Revolution

13 September 2006

today
Today:
  • The Copernican model and how it explains motions of stars, sun, moon, planets
  • Sizes and speeds of planetary orbits
  • Reactions to Copernicanism
sizes of planetary orbits
Sizes of Planetary Orbits

Venus always appears within 45º of the sun.

45º

Earth

45º

1.0 A.U.

1 A.U. = “Astronomical Unit”

= Earth-Sun distance

sizes of planetary orbits1
Sizes of Planetary Orbits

Venus

0.7 A.U.

45º

Earth

45º

1.0 A.U.

1 A.U. = “Astronomical Unit”

= Earth-Sun distance

speeds of planetary orbits
Speeds of Planetary Orbits

Earth

  • Venus crosses in front of the sun every 1.6 years.
  • During this time, Venus must orbit 2.6 times.
  • Set up a ratio to find time for one orbit:

Venus

1.6 years

2.6 orbits

x years

1 orbit

=

x = 1.6/2.6 years

= 0.62 years

advantages of the copernican model
Advantages of the Copernican model
  • Explained motions of stars, sun, moon just as well as the Ptolemaic model
  • More natural explanation of planetary motion (no major epicycles)
  • Allowed calculation of sizes, speeds of planetary motion
  • Predicted positions more accurately (because more up to date)
  • Sphere of the stars no longer necessary!
disadvantages of the copernican model
Disadvantages of the Copernican model
  • Still used minor epicycles (and other complications) to predict exact planetary positions
  • Not inherently more accurate than Ptolemaic scheme
  • All motions still based on circles (made of “ether”?)
  • Stars must be at huge distances, since otherwise we’d see sizes of constellations change during the year.
  • If the earth is moving so fast, why don’t we feel it?
  • What about Aristotelian physics, gravity, etc.?
  • If earth isn’t the center of the universe, does that make us less important?
  • If earth is part of the heavens, does this mean that the heavens are made of ordinary stuff?
  • Isn’t it simply ridiculous to turn the whole universe inside out, just to help astronomers better understand the obscure details of planetary motion?
reactions to copernicus
Reactions to Copernicus
  • A few denunciations and rebuttals, mostly on religious grounds (and mostly from Protestants, not Catholics)
  • Mostly ignored until around 1600
  • Meanwhile, astronomers used his book, whether they believed the central hypothesis or not
  • Gradually, more and more astronomers became convinced
  • “Victory by infiltration”