Shop Windows to the Universe

Check out the fun Earth science related bumper stickers in our online store! Express yourself!
Portrait of Nicholas Copernicus
SPL/Photo Researchers

Nicholas Copernicus

Nicholas Copernicus was a Polish astronomer who lived between 1473-1543. He was born in Torun, Poland to a middle class family. He attended school at Cracow and eventually moved on to Italy where he received a degree in mathematical science.

Before his time, people believed in the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, which maintained that the Earth was the center of the universe. Unfortunately, this model was inadequate at predicting the positions of the planets.

In 1543, Copernicus started a scientific revolution when he published the heliocentric theory (helios means Sun in Greek), in which all the planets, including Earth, revolved around the Sun. This was a highly controversial idea that was denounced by many of his times. He also introduced a full mathematical system that could accurately calculate the positions of the planets at any given time.


Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more

Ptolemy

Ptolemy was a Greek astronomer who lived between 85-165 A.D. He put together his own ideas, those of Aristotle, and Hipparchus' system of epicycles and eccentric circles, to formulate the geocentric theory....more

Aristotle

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who lived between 384-322 B.C. He was one of the greatest thinkers of the world and his written works encompassed all major areas of thought: logic, science, metaphysics,...more

Galileo Galilei

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

Johan Kepler

Johan Kepler was a German astronomer who lived between 1571-1630. He introduced three important laws of planetary motion and helped the Copernican model of the solar system gain general acceptance. An...more

Motions of the Planets

For many years, people believed that the Earth was the unmoving center of the universe and that the planets,Sun, moon, and the stars moved on spheres around the Earth. Astronomers such as Copernicus and...more

Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer who lived between 1546-1601. Although Tycho had his own model of the solar system, which differed from both the heliocentric and geocentric theories, his contributions...more

Nicholas Copernicus

Nicholas Copernicus was a Polish astronomer who lived between 1473-1543. He was born in Torun, Poland to a middle class family. He attended school at Cracow and eventually moved on to Italy where he received...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