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The Solar System

the solar system

Common European belief once held that the Earth was the center of the universe, that our planet was stationery, and that what we saw in the skies above us rotated around our own planet. This is called a geo (earth) centric (centered) view of the universe. The geocentric view of the universe was seen by Europeans as supporting a world view that held Man as the supreme living being with the god-given right to dominate and control all aspect of the physical world. At the time, it was widely accepted that all that took place in the universe occurred around the advent of Man on Earth. Daring thinkers imagined that the geocentric view might not be accurate ………… and eventually world thought, and religion, began to change as a result of scientific discoveries about the planets and stars around us.

Aristarchus, a Greek thinker who lived over 2,100 years ago is the first European known to have suggested that it was the earth that was traveling around the Sun, not the other way around. In 1543, in the face of wide-spread geocentric beliefs, Copernicus, on his death bed, published his work "On the Revolutions'… .. he had held back on publishing it as he feared his view of a heliocentric (sun-centered) system - or solar system - would enrage the powerful Catholic Church …….. and it did. In 1616 the Roman Catholic Church banned all books that said the earth moved.

Today, we recognize the scientific ingenuity of Aristarchus and Copernicus and we recognize that our Earth is indeed moving as part of a solar system, that our solar system is part of the Milky Way Galaxy, and that our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies across the universe.