What Did Aristotle Think About the Solar System?

DEA PICTURE LIBRARY/De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

According to NASA, Aristotle argued that the Earth was the center of the solar system. Aristotle’s argument was based on the fact that humans cannot feel the Earth moving, and the Earth’s movement does not generate wind. Aristotle believed that if the Earth moved, there would be a parallax effect in the stars, and the Earth’s movement would leave birds and clouds behind.

Aristotle believed that the Earth is stationary and must be in the center of the universe. The theory of the Earth being a stationary mass that other planets and stars revolve around is known as the geocentric model. This model was a commonly held belief for over 1800 years, and it was fueled by Aristotle’s arguments and the Greek belief that the universe was structured perfectly, according to NASA.

When the Catholic Church rose to prominence, the Greek philosophy was no longer considered accurate since the Church believed that the perfection of the sky reflected the perfection of God. Any theory that was not in alignment with the Catholic Church’s theory was considered heresy. In 1543, Copernicus was the first to introduce the idea of a heliocentric model of the solar system, which placed the sun at its center instead of the Earth.