Most of you probably connect Heliocentric Theory with Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish astronomer of 16th century. The truth is that the theory itself is much older than him. Frankly it is over 1800 years older than him.
The beginning of this revolutionary theory was in Ancient Greece. The first known reference to Earth not being the centre of the universe is called Pythagorean astronomical system. In the 5th century B.C. the Greek astronomer Philolaos was the first person in history to say that Earth is spherical and circling around some point in the universe, and not how it was commonly believed that the whole universe was circling around Earth. Frankly, in his opinion the central point wasn’t the sun, but the Central-Fire also called “Watch tower of Zeus”; the Earth, Moon, Sun, Stars, and the so called counter-earth goes in circles around it.
In 3rd century B.C. Aristarchus of Samos, by watching eclipses of both moon and sun calculated that the sun is the central point that all other planets are circling around; and that earth spins around it’s own axis. A popular tale says that he made all his calculations in sand on the beach, without any equipment but the one he made himself. However, he calculated almost perfectly correctly the distances between planets in the Solar System and determined the shape of our universe. Also, as the first person in history he invented the hypothesis that stars are objects similar to the Sun, just much more further away.
Around 150 B.C another Greek scholar Seleucus of Seleucia proved the Aristarchus theory, but sadly none of his work survived ’till this day. We’ve only got references by other philosophers to his discoveries and how he used it to determine the origin of ties. Today people suppose that he used the same geometrical models and equations like Copernicus hundreds of years later.
Any work of this three outstanding minds wasn’t vastly appreciated at their time, due to standing it opposite to the commonly believed, religious version of universe: the Geocentric Model.
Finally in 1543 the book by Copernicus “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres“) told the whole world that they were wrong. Copernicus made a short reference to Aristarchus in his book but it wasn’t published in it’s official version.
– by Blaise L. –