Moving the Earth
Galileo’s discoveries about motion formed a major part of a much larger development across all of the sciences, a development now known as the Scientific Revolution. In the study of the physical world, the science of motion, or mechanics, joined with the science of astronomy to form the basic approach to modern physics. Paralleling the revolution in mechanics, the revolution in astronomy involved an extremely difficult transition for most people from the common-sense view of the Universe in which the Earth is stationary at the center of the Universe to our current, more abstract, view that the Earth is actually spinning on its axis as it orbits around a star, our Sun, as the third planet. Since the Earth was now seen as a moving object, the revolution in mechanics helped to encourage the revolution in astronomy, and vice versa. This chapter looks at the parallel developments in astronomy, before turning to the causes of motion in the next chapter.
KeywordsSolar System Scientific Revolution Planetary Motion Outer Planet Summer Solstice
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