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What did the ancient Greeks recognize as
the universe?
• .
In their model, the universe contained Earth at the center, the
Sun, the Moon, five planets, and a sphere to which all the stars
were attached. This idea held for many centuries until Galileo’s
telescope helped allow people to realize that Earth is not the
center of the universe. They also found out that there are many
more stars that were visible to the naked eye.
In the early 20th century, an
astronomer named Edwin Hubble
Figure below discovered that what
scientists called the Andromeda
Nebula was actually over 2 million
light years away, many times farther
• . • .
than the farthest distances that had
ever been measured. Hubble
realized that many of the objects
that astronomers called nebulas
were not actually clouds of gas, but
were collections of millions or
billions of stars that we now
call galaxies.
In addition to being the birthplace of humanity and the
cradle of human civilization, Earth is the only known planet
in our Solar System that is capable of sustaining life. As a
terrestrial planet, Earth is located within the Inner Solar
System between between Venus and Mars (which are also
terrestrial planets). This place Earth in a prime location with
regards to our Sun’s Habitable Zone.
Earth has a number of nicknames, including the Blue
Planet, Gaia, Terra, and “the world” – which reflects its
centrality to the creation stories of every single human
culture that has ever existed. But the most remarkable
thing about our planet is its diversity. Not only are there an
endless array of plants, animals, avians, insects and
mammals, but they exist in every terrestrial environment.

Quick facts:
Born: 510 BC
Anaxagoras of Clazomenae was an
Greek ancient Greek philosopher credited to
Died At Age:  be the first person to bring philosophy
82 into Athens. He was a philosopher of
Born nature and is best remembered for his
In: Clazomena cosmology and for his discovery of the
e true cause of eclipses.

Died On: 428
Place Of

• He was the first to formulate a molecular theory of matter and to regard the
physical universe as subject to the rule of rationality or reason.
• Anaxagoras conceived the origin of the cosmos as the pre-existing,
undifferentiated continuum of all material elements of the cosmos.
• Anaxagoras was the first person to brought philosophy to Athens and gave
scientific explanations of natural phenomena.
• Material origin of the cosmos, he tried to solve the problem by positing four
permanent elements (fire, air, water, and earth), where changes and diversity
were explained as the combination and dissolution of four permanent elements.
Anaxagoras conceived the ultimate elements not as numerable separate entities,
but as one continuum.
• Anaxagoras conceived the continuum as a homogeneous entity that contains all
elements of the cosmos in a potential form. He called those elements “seeds”
(sperma). The origin of the cosmos was the pre-existing totality of “seed.” These
“seeds” are permanent, imperishable, and invariable. They are infinite in number
and exist in every part of the cosmos: “In everything there is a portion of
• Nous (mind or spirit) as the giver of the order of cosmos.
• Cosmology, His observations of the celestial bodies and the fall of meteorites led him to
form new theories of the universal order, and to a putative prediction of the impact of
a meteorite in 467. He attempted to give a scientific account
of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the sun, which he described as a mass of blazing
metal, larger than the Peloponnese.
• He was the first to give a correct explanation of eclipses, and was both famous and
notorious for his scientific theories.
Quick facts:
• Greek mathematician and astronomer, BORN: 395
contributed to the identification BCE or 390 BCE
of constellations and thus to the
development of observational astronomy. at Cnidus
• established the first , geometrical model Ancient city,
of celestial motion. turkey
• Eudoxus is considered by some to be the DIED: 342 BCE
“greatest of classical
Greek mathematicians”, and in or 337 BCE
all antiquity second only to Archimedes. SUBJECTS OF

STUDY: Star,
planet, method
of exhaustion,

• Astronomical Theory, his most important astronomical work, in which he expounded his
theory of the motions of the stars, sun, moon, and planets. The recent discovery of the
spherical shape of the earth may have inspired Eudoxus' hypothesis of homocentric
planetary spheres.
• He made his home there for the rest of his life, continuing his teaching and establishing an
astronomical observatory. He revised some of his earlier writings and composed a
description of his travels in seven books entitled Circuit of the Earth.
• Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles, (born 384 BCE,
Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece—died
322, Chalcis, Euboea), ancient Greek
philosopher and scientist.
• One of the greatest intellectual figures of
Western history. He was the author of a
philosophical and scientific system that
became the framework and vehicle for both
Christian Scholasticism and Medieval
Islamic Philosophy.
• He is considered the "Father of Western
• Ancient Greek philosopher who studied a
wide range of subjects and helped shape
early scientific beliefs. Includes full-color
paintings, drawings, and photos.
• Believed in a geocentric Universe and that the planets and stars were perfect spheres
though Earth itself was not.
• He further thought that the movements of the planets and stars must be circular since
they were perfect and if the motions were circular, then they could go on forever.
• He thought Earth was the center of the universe and that the Sun, Moon, planets, and
all the fixed stars revolved around it. Aristotle's ideas were widely accepted by the
Greeks of his time. The exception, a century later, was Aristarchus, one of the earliest
believers in a heliocentric or sun-centered universe. In the 100s BC, Hipparchus, the
most important Greek astronomer of his time, calculated the comparative brightness
of as many as 1,000 different stars. He also calculated the Moon's distance from the
• Hipparchus (ca. 190 B.C.E. - ca. 120 B.C.E.) was a Greek,
astronomer, geographer, and mathematician of the Hellenistic
• Hipparchus was the first Greek to actually make systematic
observations of the sky.
• Hipparchus completed a star catalog of the position and
brightness of over 800 stars. He was the first person to record
the actual angular positions using the ecliptic as a base line.
He ranked the stars according to a brightness scale of six
• Hipparchus calculated the length of the year to be 365 days, 5
hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds long and calculates his error
to be no more than 15 minutes. (It turns out he was only 6
minutes off.)
• He also came up with another way to determine the distance
to the moon. Using parallax, he was able to calculate that
HIPPARCH moon was between 59 and 67 earth radii away. (The correct
US average distance is 60.)
•• His
His other
other achievements
achievements includeinclude thethe discovery
discovery of of
precession (Hipparchus
(Hipparchus was was the
the first
first person
person to to
record the the earth’s
earth’s precession.
precession. Our Our planet
planet wobbles
as itit spins,
spins, like
like aa fading
fading spinning
spinning top.
top. This
This isis called
•• Hipparchus
Hipparchus also also created
created thethe first
first accurate
accurate modelmodel ofof
the motion
motion of of the
the sun
sun and
and moon.
•• Hipparchus
Hipparchus gives gives the
the foundations
foundations of of the
the classic
Greek model
model of of the
the solar
solar system
system that
that approximately
predicts the the positions
positions of of the
the moon
moon and and sun
sun ..
•• the
the invention
invention of of the
the astrolabe
astrolabe (With
(With anan astrolabe,
Hipparchus was was the
the first
first to
to be
be able
able toto measure
measure the the
geographical latitude
latitude and
and time
time byby observing
observing stars.)
• Ptolemy, or in Latin Claudius Ptolemaeus (ca. 90 –
ca. 168 C.E.), was a mathematician, philosopher,
geographer, map maker, astronomer, theologian,
and astrologer who lived in Alexandria, Egypt.
• He is most remembered because of his
development of the geocentric (Earth-centered)
cosmological system, known as the Ptolemaic
system, which was one of the most influential and
longest-lasting, intellectual-scientific
achievements in human history.
• While most of Ptolemy's theories about the
universe were ultimately proved incorrect, he
CLAUDIUS provided a foundation on which future scientists
could build their own theories.

The Ptolemaic Model
• The scientist Claudius Ptolemy designed a fairly
good functioning model of universe following
the observation of Plato and Aristotle.
According to Ptolemaic model , the Earth is the
center of the universe.
• The planets, moon, sun, and stars are
revolving around the Earth and some of the
orbits have epicycles (small circles where
planets orbits). The Ptolemaic model is also
called the Earth-centered or geocentric
model. The Ptolemaic model has eccentric
• According to this model, the stationery Earth
is situated in the center with the other
celestial objects orbiting it. This is true
according to the apparent daily motion.
• This model is successfully accepted and has
been considered for more than fourteen
hundred years.
• This theory satisfied the people with what
they observed. Even though this theory had
lasted for an era it was eventually proved
wrong. The theory is replaced by the
heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus
which says that the Sun is the center of the
universe and all the celestial objects including
planet Earth revolves around the Sun.

In 1514, Copernicus distributed a handwritten book to
his friends that set out his view of the universe. In it, he
proposed that the center of the universe was not Earth, but
that the sun lay near it. He also suggested that Earth's
rotation accounted for the rise and setting of the sun, the
movement of the stars, and that the cycle of seasons was
caused by Earth's revolutions around it. Finally, he
(correctly) proposed that Earth's motion through space
caused the retrograde motion of the planets across the night
Copernicus finished the first manuscript of his book, "De
Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium" ("On the Revolutions of
the Heavenly Spheres") in 1532. In it, Copernicus established
that the planets orbited the sun rather than the Earth. He
laid out his model of the solar system and the path of the
Copernicus died on May 24, 1543, of a stroke. He was
COPERNICU 70. He was buried in Frombork Cathedral in Poland, but in an
unmarked grave. Remains thought to be his were discovered
S in 2005.
Tyco Brahe was a Danish nobleman, astronomer, and
writer known for his accurate and comprehensive
astronomical and planetary observations. He was born in the
Danish Peninsula of Scania.

Summary of Brahe's Contributions
1. Among the important contributions of Brahe: He made the
most precise observations that had yet been made by devising
the best instruments available before the invention of the
2. His observations of planetary motion, particularly that of Mars,
provided the crucial data for later astronomers like Kepler to
construct our present model of the solar system.
3. He made observations of a supernova (literally: nova= "new
star") in 1572 (we now know that a supernova is an exploding star,
not a new star). This was a "star" that appeared suddenly where
none had been seen before, and was visible for about 18 months
before fading from view. Since this clearly represented a change in
the sky, prevailing opinion held that the supernova was not really a
star but some local phenomenon in the atmosphere (remember:
the heavens were supposed to be unchanging in the Aristotelian
Brahe's meticulous observations showed that the supernova did not
change positions with respect to the other stars (no parallax).
Therefore, it was a real star, not a local object.
4. Brahe made careful observations of a comet in 1577. By
measuring the parallax for the comet, he was able to show that the
comet was further away than the Moon. This contradicted the
teachings of Aristotle, who had held that comets were atmospheric
phenomena ("gases burning in the atmosphere" was a common
explanation among Aristotelians). As for the case of the supernova,
comets represented an obvious change in a celestial sphere that
was supposed to be unchanging; furthermore, it was very difficult
to ascribe uniform circular motion to a comet.
5. He made the best measurements that had yet been made in the
search for stellar parallax. Upon finding no parallax for the stars, he
(correctly) concluded that either
• the earth was motionless at the center of the Universe, or
• the stars were so far away that their parallax was too small to
Not for the only time in human thought, a great thinker formulated
a pivotal question correctly, but then made the wrong choice of
possible answers: Brahe did not believe that the stars could possibly
be so far away and so concluded that the Earth was the center of
the Universe and that Copernicus was wrong.
6. Brahe proposed a model of the Solar System that was
intermediate between the Ptolemaic and Copernican models (it had
the Earth at the center) which he called the Tychonic System. His
system correctly saw the moon as orbiting Earth, and the planets as
orbiting the sun, but erroneously considered the sun to be orbiting
the Earth. It proved to be incorrect, but was the most widely
accepted model of the Solar System for a time.
Thus, Brahe's ideas about his data were not always correct, but the
quality of the observations themselves was central to the
development of modern astronomy.
Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer,
mathematician, and astrologer. He discovered that
the Earth and planets travel about the sun in
elliptical orbits. He gave three fundamental laws
of planetary motion. He is a key figure in the 17th-
century Scientific Revolution, best known for
his Laws of Planetary motion, and his
books Atronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi,
and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae. These
works also provided one of the foundations
JOHANNES for Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

Kepler’s first law states that:
“ Planets are orbiting the sun in a path described as an ellipses.”

An ellipse is a special curve in which the sum of the

distances from every point on the curve to two other points is
a constant. The two other points (represented here by the
tack locations) are known as the foci of the ellipse. The closer
together that these points are, the more closely that the
ellipse resembles the shape of a circle. In fact, a circle is the
special case of an ellipse in which the two foci are at the same
location. Kepler's first law is rather simple - all planets orbit
the sun in a path that resembles an ellipse, with the sun being
located at one of the foci of that ellipse.
Kepler's second law states that:
“ An imaginary line joining a planet and the sun sweeps out an equal area of
space in equal amounts of time.”

The animation depicts the elliptical orbit of a

planet about the sun.
The dot pattern shows that as the planet is
closest the sun, the planet is moving fastest and
as the planet is farthest from the sun, it is
moving slowest. Nonetheless, the imaginary line
joining the center of the planet to the center of
the sun sweeps out the same amount of area in
each equal interval of time.
This empirical law discovered by Kepler arises from
conservation of angular momentum. When the planet is closer to the sun, it moves
faster, sweeping through a longer path in a given time.

Angular momentum is the quantity of rotation of a

body. The angular momentum is the same at every
point on an orbit. When it is closer, it increases
Kepler’s third law:
“ Compares the orbital period and radius of orbit of a planet to those of other

Unlike Kepler's first and second laws that describe the

motion characteristics of a single planet, the third law makes
a comparison between the motion characteristics of different
planets. The comparison being made is that the ratio of the
squares of the periods to the cubes of their average distances
from the sun is the same for every one of the planets.

Kepler's third law provides an accurate description of the

period and distance for a planet's orbits about the sun.
When it comes to scientists who revolutionized the way we think of the universe, few
names stand out like Galileo Galilei. A noted inventor, physicist, engineer and astronomer,
Galileo was one of the greatest contributors to the Scientific Revolution. He build telescopes,
designed a compass for surveying and military use, created a revolutionary pumping system,
and developed physical laws that were the precursors of Newton’s law of Universal Gravitation
and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
But it was within the field of astronomy that Galileo made his most enduring impact. Using
telescopes of his own design, he discovered Sunspots, the largest moons of Jupiter,
surveyed The Moon, and demonstrated the validity of Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the
universe. In so doing, he helped to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos, our place in
it, and helped to usher in an age where scientific reasoning trumped religious dogma.
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was a pivotal figure in the
development of modern astronomy, both because of his
contributions directly to astronomy, and because of his work
in physics and its relation to astronomy. He provided the
crucial observations that proved the Copernican hypothesis,
and also laid the foundations for a correct understanding of
how objects moved on the surface of the earth (dynamics)
and of gravity.
Galileo’s Telescope
Galileo is often incorrectly credited with the creation of a telescope. Instead, he significantly
improved upon them. In 1609, he first learned of the existence of the spyglass, which excited him. He
began to experiment with telescope-making, going so far as to grind and polish his own lenses. His
telescope allowed him to see with a magnification of eight or nine times. In comparison, spyglasses of
the day only provided a magnification of three.
It wasn't long before Galileo turned his telescope to the heavens. He was the first to see craters on
the moon, he discovered sunspots, and he tracked the phases of Venus. The rings of Saturn puzzled him,
appearing as lobes and vanishing when they were edge-on — but he saw them, which was more than
can be said of his contemporaries.
When NASA sent a mission to Jupiter in the 1990s, it was called Galileo in honor of the famed
Galileo observed the Sun through his telescope and
saw that the Sun had dark patches on it that we now
call sunspots (he eventually went blind, perhaps from
damage suffered by looking at the Sun with his
telescope). Furthermore, he observed motion of the
sunspots indicating that the Sun was rotating on an axis.
These "blemishes" on the Sun were contrary to the
doctrine of an unchanging perfect substance in the
heavens, and the rotation of the Sun made it less
strange that the Earth might rotate on an axis too, as
required in the Copernican model.
The Moons of Jupiter
Of all of his telescope discoveries, he is
perhaps most known for his discovery of the four
most massive moons of Jupiter. Galileo observed 4
points of light that changed their positions with
time around the planet Jupiter. He concluded that
these were objects in orbit around Jupiter. Indeed,
they were the 4 brightest moons of Jupiter:
Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto which are now
commonly called the Galilean moons (Galileo
himself called them the Medicea Siderea---the
``Medician Stars'').
The Phases of Venus

Galileo used his telescope to

show that Venus went
through a complete set
of phases, just like the Moon.
This observation was among
the most important in human
history, for it provided the first
conclusive observational proof
that was consistent with the
Copernican system but not the
Ptolemaic system.
In addition to the observations noted above, Galileo made many other observations that
undermined the authority on which the Ptolemaic universe was built. Some of these included
• Showing that the planets were disks, not points of light, as seen through the telescope.
• Showing that the great "cloud" called the Milky Way (which we now know to be the disk of
our spiral galaxy) was composed of enormous numbers of stars that had not been seen
• Observing that the planet Saturn had "ears". We now know that Galileo was observing the
rings of Saturn, but his telescope was not good enough to show them as more than
extensions on either side of the planet.
• Showing that the Moon was not smooth, as had been assumed, but was covered by
mountains and craters.
Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton – who lived from December 25th, 1642, to
March 20th, 1727 – was an English scientist, mathematician,
and “natural philosopher”. In his time, he played a vital role
in the Scientific Revolution, helping to advance the fields of
physics, astronomy, mathematics and the natural sciences.
From this, he established a legacy that would dominate the
sciences for the next three centuries.
Newton’s Three
Laws of Motion
For starters, his magnum opus – Philosophiæ
Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical
Principles of Natural Philosophy”), which was first
published in 1687 – laid the foundations for
classical mechanics. It proved to be one of the
most influential works in the history of science. In
its pages Newton asserted the three Laws of
Motion, elaborated Johannes Kepler’s Laws of
Motion, and stated the Law of Universal
Newton’s Three Laws of Motion
1. Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of
motion unless an external force acts on it.
- The first law, known as the “law of inertia”, simply implies that an object at
rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in
motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction
unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
2. Force equals mass times acceleration [ f(t)=ma (t) ].
-The second law states that acceleration is produced when a force acts on a
mass – ergo, the greater the mass of the object, the greater the force required
to accelerate it.
3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
-To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. If one body
applies a force on a second, then the second body exerts a force of the same
strength on the first, in the opposite direction.
Motion in the
The popular myth tells of an apple falling from a
tree brought Newton to an understanding of forces,
particularly gravity. Whether or not that apple actually
landed on Isaac Newton's head, as some stories would
have it, this equation describes why you stay rooted to
the ground, what locks the Earth in orbit around the sun
and was used by NASA engineers to send men to the
moon. His most famous work came with the publication
of his "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica"
("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"),
generally called Principia. It describes why that apple
fell from that tree in that orchard in Lincolnshire.
Law of Universal Gravitation
• He also formulated his Law of Universal Gravitation in
the Principia, which states that every point mass attracts
every single other point mass by a force pointing along the
line intersecting both point. According to his calculations,
this force is proportional to the product of the two masses
and inversely proportional to the square of the distance
between them. The formula for this theory can be
expressed as:
Law of Universal Gravitation
Putting the three laws of motion together, Newton was able to state the Law of
Universal Gravitation: “Every particle of matter attracts every other particle with a
force proportional to the product of the masses of the two particles and inversely
proportional to the square of the distance between them.” Stated more simply, the
gravitational attraction between two bodies decreases rapidly as the distance
between them increases.
Kepler's laws explain how the planets moved around the sun but not why. Newton
filled in that gap by supposing there was a force acting between the bodies that were
moving around each other.
Shape of the
Additional contributions include his prediction that the Earth was likely
shaped as an “oblate spheroid” – i.e. a sphere that experienced flattening at
the poles. This theory would later be vindicated by the measurements of
Maupertuis, La Condamine, and others. This in turn helped convince most
Continental European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics
over the earlier system of Descartes.