We Are Not the Center of the Universe.
Have you, in this day and age, come across people that promoted the idea that Earth is the center of the universe? Or perhaps that Earth is not in constant motion but is in fact a still object? Believe me, you won’t be getting much marks in your exams with these points. Modern science on the other hand has a very different claim. It is believed that Earth isn’t the center of the universe, that it isn’t even the center of our solar system. But there was a time, centuries ago, where people believed just the opposite.
Earth Was Believed To Be The Center Of The Universe Back Then
The theory that Earth is in the center of our universe and every other celestial body, including the Sun, revolved around us in circular orbits, is called the Geocentric model.
For over 1500 years, people followed this model proposed by Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle and established even further later by Ptolemy. This theory was supported by the fact that the Stars, Sun, Moon and other planets are seen to revolve around the Earth while Earth remained stationary.
The Earth was believed to be stationary since the placement of constellations remained the same with time. If the Earth in fact did move, there would have been a visible shift in the position of the stars within the span of a year and such change was detected.
So the Geocentric model was implemented and followed. Astronomy was widely based on this model and it was even supported by biblical followers since the Bible preaches the same theory.
All of it sounds very nice and probably true if it wasn’t for the pesky thing called Gravity. Remember Newton? And his apple? No, not the brand, the other one.
New Models Propped Up and Earth Is No Longer The Center
Any kind of opposition to this (Geocentric theory) didn’t show up until 1543 when Copernicus published his book, ‘On The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres’, in which he suggested the Earth and the planets revolved around the Sun, contrary to then popular belief.
This proposal didn’t pose that big a threat since no one was willing to change the already existing system that everyone got used to and also that this theory too wasn’t that much better than Ptolemy’s theory.
But by then faults in the Geocentric model started becoming more evident and the sailors needed a concrete system for them to navigate by.
In 1609 the telescope was invented by Galileo and he discovered that the moons of Jupiter revolved around Jupiter instead of the preconceived notion that they revolved around Earth instead, which only further widened the flaws in the Geocentric theory.
Around the same time Kepler has postulated his Laws of Planetary Motion which suggested that planets move in elliptical orbits, and was able to successfully predict Venus’s orbit for the year 1631. The Heliocentric theory was established even better when that famous apple fell on Newton’s head and Gravitation was discovered.
With the help of Gravitational Law, Newton was able to mathematically prove Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and was also able to figure out how Earth and other celestial bodies stayed in constant circular motion without the atmosphere flying away.
The model followed now and strong religious adherence to the old model –
The Heliocentric model was improved throughout the years and major scientists around the world (and even most of your textbooks) presently follow this model. Although science seemed to adapt to this new idea, the Geocentric model was still held on to tightly on religious terms.
Many followers of the Bible and some of Orthodox Judaism and Islamic followers still adhere to the Geocentric model till this day.
A survey conducted in 2005 by Jon. D. Miller revealed that 20% percent of Americans believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth and another survey conducted in 2011 by VTSIOM declared that 32% of Russians believed the same.
Additionally, there are certain sects of people who understand the Bible in a literal sense and hence strongly believe in the Geocentric Model.
Why Did We Say: Earth Isn’t The Center Of The Universe
The major flaw in theories presented by Geocentric theorists is that they can’t explain every major phenomena of outer space like Heliocentric theory does.
- One of those claims is that, Earth is stationary because at the speed that Earth is believed to move, the atmosphere would have been long gone. This would have been a perfect explanation if it wasn’t for the fact that gravitation doesn’t only hold us down, but also allows the Earth to move with its atmosphere as a whole.
- Another claim was that while Earth remained stationary in the middle, the sun was the one orbiting around it every day. Gravitation also dismisses this because the amount of gravitational pull a celestial body has largely depends on its size. To understand how huge the Sun actually is compared to Earth, take a look at the video down below.
At the end of the day, no matter what you believe Heliocentric theory is what scientists follow today to achieve tons of scientific endeavors. Rockets are being launched; drones are being sent out light-years away from Earth and even this article can be read from anywhere around the world because of the satellites orbiting our Earth that make Internet possible. None of these, and more, couldn’t have been achieved if we haven’t adapted to the most plausible theory. What you believe would be up to you, but before that take a look at this video to see how small Earth really is.
Source: @WilliFoo – FaceBook Profile