Geschiedenis van het boek[ bewerken brontekst bewerken ] Het is mogelijk dat Copernicus het heliocentrische wereldbeeld van de Oud-Griekse sterrenkundige Aristarchus had, maar dit is niet zeker want hij noemt geen bronnen. Copernicus beschreef het heliocentrische model voor het eerst in een korte verhandeling, de Commentariolus. Dit werk wordt al genoemd in , waaruit blijkt dat hij lang voor de publicatie van de De revolutionibus al aan zijn model werkte. Copernicus zag in dat als niet de Aarde maar de Zon als centrum van de kosmos gezien werd, de door sterrenkundigen waargenomen bewegingen van de planeten makkelijker te verklaren waren. In het geocentrische model van Ptolemaeus waren epicykels en Alfonsijnse tabellen nodig om de bewegingen te verklaren. Het door Copernicus geschreven originele handschrift van De revolutionibus is bewaard gebleven, wat erg zeldzaam is voor belangrijke wetenschappelijke werken uit die tijd.
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At this time, Copernicus anticipated that he could reconcile the motion of the Earth with the perceived motions of the planets easily, with fewer motions than were necessary in the Alfonsine Tables , the version of the Ptolemaic system current at the time. Regiomontano et B. After his death, it was given to his pupil, Rheticus , who for publication had only been given a copy without annotations.
Via Heidelberg, it ended up in Prague, where it was rediscovered and studied in the 19th century. Close examination of the manuscript, including the different types of paper used, helped scholars construct an approximate timetable for its composition. Apparently Copernicus began by making a few astronomical observations to provide new data to perfect his models.
By the s a substantial part of the book was complete, but Copernicus hesitated to publish. Due to its friendly reception, Copernicus finally agreed to publication of more of his main work—in , a treatise on trigonometry , which was taken from the second book of the still unpublished De revolutionibus. Copernicus kept a copy of his manuscript which, sometime after his death, was sent to Rheticus in the attempt to produce an authentic, unaltered version of the book.
The plan failed but the copy was found during the 18th. Title page, 2nd edition, Basel , Officina Henricpetrina , The book is dedicated to Pope Paul III in a preface by Lutheran preacher Andreas Osiander , which argues that the system is only one of mathematical contrivance, not physical truth.
The world heavens is spherical, as is the Earth, and the land and water make a single globe. The celestial bodies, including the Earth, have regular circular and everlasting movements. The Earth rotates on its axis and around the Sun. The order of the planets around the Sun and their periodicity. Chapters 12—14 give theorems for chord geometry as well as a table of chords. Book II describes the principles of spherical astronomy as a basis for the arguments developed in the following books and gives a comprehensive catalogue of the fixed stars.
Book IV is a similar description of the Moon and its orbital movements. Book V explains how to calculate the positions of the wandering stars based on the heliocentric model and gives tables for the five planets.
Book VI deals with the digression in latitude from the ecliptic of the five planets. Copernicus argued that the universe comprised eight spheres.
The outermost consisted of motionless, fixed stars, with the Sun motionless at the center. The Moon, however, revolved in its sphere around the Earth.
Copernicus adhered to one of the standard beliefs of his time, namely that the motions of celestial bodies must be composed of uniform circular motions. For this reason, he was unable to account for the observed apparent motion of the planets without retaining a complex system of epicycles similar to those of the Ptolemaic system. Title page, 3rd ed. Andreas Osiander had taken over the task of supervising the printing and publication.
Then he must conceive and devise the causes of these motions or hypotheses about them. Since he cannot in any way attain to the true causes, he will adopt whatever suppositions enable the motions to be computed correctly The present author has performed both these duties excellently. For these hypotheses need not be true nor even probable.
On the contrary, if they provide a calculus consistent with the observations, that alone is enough For this art, it is quite clear, is completely and absolutely ignorant of the causes of the apparent [movement of the heavens].
And if any causes are devised by the imagination, as indeed very many are, they are not put forward to convince anyone that they are true, but merely to provide a reliable basis for computation. However, since different hypotheses are sometimes offered for one and the same The philosopher will perhaps rather seek the semblance of the truth. But neither of them will understand or state anything certain, unless it has been divinely revealed to him Let no one expect anything certain from astronomy, which cannot furnish it, lest he accept as the truth ideas conceived for another purpose, and depart this study a greater fool than when he entered.
An example of this type of claim can be seen in the Catholic Encyclopedia, which states "Fortunately for him [the dying Copernicus], he could not see what Osiander had done. This reformer, knowing the attitude of Luther and Melanchthon against the heliocentric system Joachim Camerarius Erasmus Reinhold Joachim Rheticus It was also possible that Protestant Nurnberg could fall to the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor and since "the books of hostile theologians could be burned Only the handful of "Philosophical purists like the Averroists The unfortunate consequence was that the terrestrial rotation axis then maintained the same inclination with respect to the Sun as the sphere turned, eliminating the seasons.
In his work, Copernicus "used conventional, hypothetical devices like epicycles It was this attitude towards technical astronomy that had allowed it to "function since antiquity, despite its inconsistencies with the principles of physics and the philosophical objections of Averroists. From these influences, Osiander held that in the area of philosophical speculation and scientific hypothesis there are "no heretics of the intellect", but when one gets past speculation into truth-claims the Bible is the ultimate measure.
By holding Copernicianism was mathematical speculation, Osiander held that it would be silly to hold it up against the accounts of the Bible. As historian Robert S. Because those who were making astrological predictions relied on astronomers to tell them where the planets were, they also became a target. Pico held that since astronomers who calculate planetary positions could not agree among themselves, how were they to be held as reliable? While Pico could bring into concordance writers like Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Averroes, Avicenna, and Aquinas, the lack of consensus he saw in astronomy was a proof to him of its fallibility alongside astrology.
How, Pico asked, could astrologists possibly claim they could read what was going on when the astronomers they relied on could offer no precision on even basic questions? Thus the conflict between Piconian skepticism and secure principles for the science of the stars was built right into the complex dedicatory apparatus of De Revolutionibus itself.
Can either, therefore, be true? Indeed, Osiander deceives much with that preface of his Hence, someone may well ask: How is one to know which hypothesis is truer, the Ptolemaic or the Copernican? However, Maestlin already suspected Osiander, because he had bought his De revolutionibus from the widow of Philipp Apian ; examining his books, he had found a note attributing the introduction to Osiander.
Reception[ edit ] Even before the publication of De revolutionibus, rumors circulated about its central theses. Martin Luther is quoted as saying in People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us [Joshua ] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
In Spain, rules published in for the curriculum of the University of Salamanca gave students the choice between studying Ptolemy or Copernicus. Nine sentences that represented the heliocentric system as certain were to be omitted or changed.
After these corrections were prepared and formally approved in the reading of the book was permitted. Also, Nicolaus Reimers in translated the book into German. His census  included copies of the first edition by comparison, there are extant copies of the First Folio of Shakespeare and copies of the second.
In January , a second-edition copy was stolen as part of a heist of rare books from Heathrow Airport and remains unrecovered.
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
At this time, Copernicus anticipated that he could reconcile the motion of the Earth with the perceived motions of the planets easily, with fewer motions than were necessary in the Alfonsine Tables , the version of the Ptolemaic system current at the time. Regiomontano et B. After his death, it was given to his pupil, Rheticus , who for publication had only been given a copy without annotations. Via Heidelberg, it ended up in Prague, where it was rediscovered and studied in the 19th century.
UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW
The book, first printed in in Nuremberg , Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , offered proof that the Earth went round the Sun , and not vice versa, as had been thought. Copernicus had worked his ideas out many years before, but was afraid to publish, fearing the anger of the Roman Catholic Church. Finally, the book was published just before he died. Contents[ change change source ] In its standard English edition, the book contains folio pages, pages of tables, and over 20, tabulated numbers. The book is dedicated to Pope Paul III in a preface that argues that mathematics , not physics , should be the basis for understanding and accepting his new theory. De revolutionibus is divided into six "books" sections or parts : Book I is a general vision of the heliocentric theory, and a summarized exposition of his cosmology. Book II is mainly theoretical and describes the principles of spherical astronomy and a list of stars, as a basis for the arguments developed in the following books.