Episode 12: The Centre of the Universe

Episode 12: The Centre of the Universe
Photo by Greg Rakozy / Unsplash

Thousands of years before the invention of the telescope, ancient humans looked up to the night sky and wondered just what it was they were gazing at. Then in typical human fashion, they decided that whatever it all was, they were definitely at the centre of it all.

Ancient people observed the movement of the stars and planets across the sky and began to notice patterns. It wasn’t long before these patterns were being used to predict the seasons, tell the time and navigate the Earth, but the objects themselves remained a mystery, often being attributed to gods and spirits -- not really surprising when you consider that the first astronomers were priests rather than scientists.

Copernicus knows something you don't

Luckily the belief that the Earth was the centre of the Universe was finally put to rest by Nicolaus Copernicus in the 16th Century CE. Copernicus was a mathematician, astronomer and cleric -- you might call him a Renaissance man in the most literal sense, given that he lived through the European Renaissance.

Copernicus' findings sparked a revolution in how we view our place in the Universe and, finally, we weren't just running in circles!


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