Happy 450th Birthday Nicolaus Copernicus!

B. 19 February 1473 
D. 24 May 1543

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer who transformed our understanding of the solar system - the first to place the Sun at the centre of the solar system, more than 100 years before Gallileo. 

Born as the son of merchant in Torún, Poland, he travelled to Italy to study law. Along the way, his passions for geography and astronomy were set alight. 

By 1530, while working to improve the calendar at the request of the Catholic Church, Nicolaus produced a major piece of research. It was called De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).

In this work, he was the first astronomer to state that it was the Sun that was at the centre of the solar system. He was condemned by Martin Luther and other protestant figures. 

He died in 1543. According to legend, he is said to have woken from a coma, induced by apoplexy (stroke). He looked at his pre-publication copy of De revolutionibus and died peacefully.

His remains were found in 2005 (confirmed in 2008), underneath Frombork Cathedral in Poland.

Happy Birthday Nicolaus!

Posted February 19, 2013@ 12:13pm

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