Geocentric and Heliocentric Models of the Solar System

The paper aims at analyzing the issue of the geocentric and heliocentric models. To start the discussion, one may consider that since the dawn of the humankind, people had numerous questions about the construction of the Universe, and different answers were given. Various schemes were established, reestablished, and modified so that some of them were forgotten and others lost in the process of exploring the Universe. Thus, each model is an attempt to identify a place of a human being in the world.

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Since the times of Aristotle, people considered themselves to be in the center of the world and felt superior. Almost two thousand years ago, they presumed that the Earth was not moving. This statement was defended with the claims that, for example, if the planet was indeed moving, one could feel it as well as the wind caused by the movement; the birds and clouds, according to Aristotle, would be left behind. In the mind of people, the Earth was stable and located in the center while all the planets and stars (including the Sun) were moving around the Earth.

The church that was an institution of control approved this view. Everything is perfect in the world created by God. There was no doubt that in the perfect world, people as the creation of God were in the center. The Catholic church interpreted the geocentric model of the world as the only one right, and “any philosophy that did not agree with the geocentric view was considered heretical” (Miller, Keating, & Sidhwa n.p.). Nevertheless, the theory was challenged by the ideas of Nicolaus Copernicus who dared to say that the Sun was the center and the Earth moved around it. This scientific point of view reformed the abovementioned model completely. It is known nowadays as the heliocentric model or the Copernican System.

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were the times of a new man who was thirsty for new answers and knowledge. It was Johannes Kepler who continued investigating the Universe with the purpose of “mathematically describing the orbits if the planets about the Sun” (Miller, Keating, & Sidhwa n.p.). His work has resulted in the Thee Laws of Planetary Motion. During that time, Galileo Galilei was studying Venus and understood that the Earth could not possibly be the center. He proved this using a telescope. His discoveries were published in the book called Sidereus Nuncias (The Messenger of the Stars). The church could not allow this heliocentric model to exist, because it would spoil its reputation. However, the process of shifting models could neither be stopped nor prevented.

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The difficulty of the change was caused by various factors. The church was provoked; thus, the authority was no longer in its hands but individuals’. The world has not changed, but the perception of it (stable for such a long time) did. This shift declared a new era, new way of thinking, and new life.

To understand the difficulty that accompanied the shift from one view (Earth-centered) to another (the Sun-centered model), one may view the Universe is a blackboard. A human being who feels lost writes the most crucial questions on the board: “Who am I?”, “Where am I?” It was the geocentric model that served as a written answer on the blackboard and ensured that “We are the center of the Universe”. This position helped to cope with the fear of unknown. Being in the center was equal to being something important. People created a model that was an illusion of power and control over something that could not be comprehended. We may call it even not the geocentric model, but the egocentric perception of what could not be understood otherwise. That model was used to serve not scientific view but help one need to dominate. Later, the heliocentric model was accepted.

Another turning point was the nineteenth century when the model under consideration was improved. We know now that it is not the Sun that is the center of the Universe. As the matter of fact, our location is known to be far from the center – the Milky Way. Of course, such notions could not be tolerated in the medieval period as they were too bold and moved the human being away making us insignificant if to look at the overall picture.

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The Earth-centered cosmology was a dominant model for a long time in history. The swift to the heliocentric model was difficult due to the fact of the established belief that the Earth was the center of the perfect world created by God. The Catholic church did not approve any other view and eliminated different theories. The most important figures who managed to change the models were Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei. They established the rules which explained the movement of planets and stars as well as proved that the Earth is moving around the Sun. The heliocentric model now is the cosmological paradigm according to which we live. It was proved scientifically using telescopes and mathematic calculations. We can say that there is only one answer on the blackboard of the Universe.

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