When proposals were made about the sun-centered system of Copernicus, there were mixed reactions whether to support it or continue supporting the old earth-centered system. There are those who supported the sun-centered system of Copernicus making claims that the theory was not only simple but provided an explanation that was striking regarding the retrograde planet motions known as parallactic displacement. This was a simple explanation regarding the reasons the earth revolved around the sun an idea that made astronomer like Johannes Kepler to be convinced that this new theory was substantially true.
However, there are some astronomers such as Tycho Brahe and some other Germans who rejected the new theory of Copernicus on the grounds physical and religious reasons. Tycho used geometry to conduct calculations on the sizes and distance of stars (Gribbon 140). He made claims that heliocentrism would require that the stars be huge as the earth’s orbit thus making it bigger compared to the sun. He came to a conclusion that Copernicus deductions were absurd thus they continued to support the earth-centered system of the ancient Greeks.
Among the first modern scientific team were Tycho and Kepler. Kepler came up with the planetary motion theory. He discovered that the motion of planets was as a result of a certain force originating from the sun. It is this force that maintained the motion making it a rotating spoke that pushed the planet to move around the orbit (Gribbon 142).
However, the discovery that Kepler made was triggered by Tycho who had asked Copernicus to provide a definition of orbit of Mars. Tycho had a strong belief that the universe and the sun orbited the earth, contrary to other planets that orbited the Sun. This is what triggered Kepler to conduct a calculation on the orbital laws and came to discover that the planet’s orbits were as a result of three important laws of motion. It means that Kepler could have not made this important discovery to prove Copernicus theory if Tycho had not come up with the Earth-centered model.
Galileo took a bold move to support sun-centered theory. He came up with four theories as evidence to prove his belief.
- Among the explanations that Galileo provided that does the worst job in opposing the earth-centered system is the phase of Venus. It appeared to Galileo through the telescope that Venus had phases which proved that Moon too had phases (Gribbon 122). However, there is no way in which the phases of Venus could prove the sun-centered system. I think that the circling of Venus around the Sun only occurred through the eyes of Galileo and not on the Earth.
- The explanation that does the worst job in supporting the sun-centered system is the moon having craters features. In some way, he was opposing the religious grounds of the heavenly bodies being perfect. I think this explanation does not prove the sun-centered system which Galileo was trying to use to convince people making his point so weak.
- The best explanation that Galileo provided to oppose the earth-centered system was the Jupiter moons. This evidence is strong because he discovered that there were bodies that revolved around the earth center which opposed all the scientific evidences that had existed about the earth-centered system making the Ptolemaic astronomers explanations false.
- On the other hand, the best explanation that Galileo provided to support the sun-centered system was regarding the ball and motion. According to him, motion was an external process thus not a natural characteristic of the planets (Gribbon 124). Motion would therefore continue minus any outside force influencing it. I found this explanation strong because it answered the claims regarding the earth daily motion.
There are several astronomy-related Smartphone apps some of which include:
- Star chart
When you want to use this app, you just have to hold your Smartphone up facing the sky and based on your location, it orients itself to show what is visible in the sky at that particular moment. By adjusting the settings in the app, it is possible to have a view of sky objects at night because of the night mode even though it is not very clear.
- Solar walk
This is a 3D model of app that can be used to view the solar system. It possesses incredible graphics plus has information about all the planets that you want to see. It is more suitable for those who want to learn more about the objects in the sky rather than using it to view the stars and moons at night or day time.
- Star walk
This app is made in such a way that by simply holding it up towards the sky, you will be able to get the complete layout of the planets and stars that within your vicinity enabling you to learn more about them. The app is made in a way that you can adjust the transparency level and have a clear view of the solar system. It is also possible to conduct a search for any hidden stars or planets around your location to pop up.
I think that star walk is the best app so far because it is easy to use with several features that allow you to search, share or tap whichever planet that you want to view. It can be used during the day and night because of its high visibility and transparency features. On the other hand, it provides massive information regarding the objects that it has tapped.
Gribbon, James. The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of its Greatest Inventors. New York: Dover, 2008.