What is the heliocentric theory? The heliocentric theory, also known as the heliocentric system, heliocentric model, or heliocentric planetary model, is a cosmological theory that replaced the geocentric view in which the Earth was considered the center of the universe.
In the heliocentric theory, it is the Sun which occupies the center of the universe and the Earth, with the other planets, orbits around it. Although Nicolaus Copernicus proposed this theory in the 16th century, Greek philosophers such as Philolaus, Hicetas and Aristarchus of Samos had already theorized about it in the 5th century BC.
What is the heliocentric theory?
Proposes that the planets, including the Earth, revolve around the Sun. The Sun is at the center of the universe and the other stars in the firmament are fixed in an outer sphere. Copernicus used mathematical calculations and relied on geocentric theory to solve the problems it presented.
Foundations of the heliocentric theory
It is based on the following assumptions: the Sun, the Earth and the other planets have a spherical shape, the shape of the universe is spherical, the orbit of the Earth and the planets around the Sun is circular, the movement is regular and continuous, and the size of the Earth is tiny compared to the universe.
Copernicus’ theory also distinguishes four movements: el movimiento diurno, el movimiento mensual de la Luna alrededor de la Tierra, el movimiento anual de la Tierra alrededor del Sol y el movimiento planetario, que es un movimiento aparente causado por el movimiento conjunto de la Tierra y los planetas Durante su órbita alrededor of the sun.
Copernicus also correctly placed the planets of the solar system according to their distance from the sun, thus correcting the old order established by Ptolemy.
Modifications of the heliocentric theory
Johannes Kepler he expanded and improved the foundations of Copernicus’ heliocentric theory. It introduces modifications such as the elliptical instead of circular shape of the planetary orbits and the variability of the speed of the planets, this being all the greater the closer they are to the Sun.
Keys to understanding the heliocentric theory
Now that we have understood what the heliocentric theory consists of and what its foundations are, let’s see what are the keys to better understand it:
In the geocentric theory, the Earth was fixed at the center of the universe, while in the heliocentric theory, the Earth moves around the Sun. This movement produces an effect that we know as the seasons of the year.
Copernicus used astronomical observations to prove the validity of his theory. He observed the movement of the planets and noted that their movements could not be explained if the Earth was at the center of the universe.
Impact on astronomy
Copernicus’ heliocentric theory revolutionized astronomy and the way scientists thought about the universe. It opened the door to new avenues of scientific thought and led to important discoveries in the field of astronomy.
Influence on society
It also had an impact on society. He challenged the belief that the Earth was the center of the universe, leading to a reassessment of religious and philosophical ideas.
Copernicus’ heliocentric theory is a cosmological model that has had a major impact on astronomy and our understanding of the universe. It was a revolutionary theory for its time and opened the door to new forms of scientific thought. Although widely accepted in the 16th century, the heliocentric theory is still relevant and continues to be the subject of study and debate in modern astronomy.