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Portrait of Nicholas Copernicus
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Nicholas Copernicus

Nicholas Copernicus was a Polish astronomer who lived between 1473-1543. Before his time, people believed in the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, which maintained that the Earth was the center of the universe.

Copernicus changed this belief when he introduced the heliocentric model, centered around the sun. He claimed that all the planets, including Earth, moved in orbits around the sun, and showed how this new system could accurately calculate the positions of the planets.


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Nicholas Copernicus

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Leonardo da Vinci

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Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer and physicist who lived between 1564-1642. He challenged Aristotle's proposition that heavenly bodies were divine and therefore perfect and blemish-free. Galileo...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA