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What did Nicolaus Copernicus discover?

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Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish scientist who is credited with the early 16th-century discovery that the sun is the center of the universe and that Earth and several other planets orbit it. Copernicus' discovery, which subsequent astronomers expanded on, has become known as the heliocentric solar system.

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Copernicus' theory was a drastic adjustment to the previous geocentric model, which suggested that the sun and all other planets and stars orbited the Earth. The astronomer also proposed theories on the motion of different planets and stars. He published his findings, which were all based on his naked eye observations, in 1514.

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  • Q:

    What is Kepler's Universe Theory?

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    Johannes Kepler's theories of the universe were notable for hypothesizing that the universe was created on April 27, 4977 B.C. and that the planets orbit in an elliptical pattern rather than a circular pattern. His theory superseded previous theories which postulated that planets move in circular orbits at constant speeds.

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  • Q:

    What nationality was Nicolaus Copernicus?

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    Although he had a German heritage, Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Poland. Torun, the city in which he was born, had become an official part of Poland by the time of his birth. However, German was his primary language.

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  • Q:

    Who were Nicolaus Copernicus's wife and children?

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    Nicolaus Copernicus never married and did not have any children, although he did have a relationship with Anna Schilling, his housekeeper. Nicolaus did, however, take care of his five nephews and nieces after his sister died.

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  • Q:

    Where was the sun in Ptolemy's model of the universe?

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    Ptolemy's model of the universe was geocentric, containing the Earth at the center with a series of circles, called deferents, moving outward from the Earth, containing the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Ptolemy placed fixed stars and the Primum Mobile in the spheres after Saturn.

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