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Astronomers

In: Science

Submitted By crispyprecourt
Words 405
Pages 2
Tyler Pederson
March 23, 2010
Astronomy Mid Term Essay

The ancient philosophers believed that the workings of the heavens were controlled by the gods and thus did not think that mankind was able to understand the movement of the planets. The beliefs of these philosophers were very different and in contrast to later scientific investigation. Figures in science such as Isaac Newton and Galileo were major factors that contributed to a new level of thinking and established proper scientific investigations and a whole new level of thinking. The church dominated much of the thinking of this time and the Catholic Church condemned heliocentrism, which was the theory that the planets and Earth revolve around the sun and the sun is stationary at the center of the universe, and Galileo was warned to abandon his support for it. Galileo was a scientist who played a major role in the scientific revolution. Kinematics is the branch of classical mechanics that describes the motion of objects without consideration of the causes leading to the motion and was vastly studied by Galileo. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, and the observation of sunspots, which proved that the sun rotates because of the speed at which the spots rotate. Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for centuries to come. Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by showing the consistency between Kepler’s law of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation. This essentially lead to the last doubts about heliocentrism. Newton also advanced the scientific revolution which laid the foundation for modern science. It was a rejection of doctrines that dominated in Ancient Greece and continued through the middle ages and let scholars look at the world in a different light. Religion, superstition, and fear were replaced by reason and knowledge during this period. Galileo and Newton essentially changed the way of thinking during this time and proved through investigation some of the phenomena occurring in the universe and that the gods did not control the workings of the heavens. This was the period when the foundation of the scientific revolution was developed, thanks in large part to the contributions of Newton and Galileo.

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