Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a mathematician, physician, and founder of modern astronomy. Copernicus developed a heliocentric theory to describe and explain the motion of bodies in the solar system--that is, his model proposed that planets orbit around the sun. He also recognized that the earth rotates on its axis, making one full rotation each day. 

Copernicus did not make most of his own observations, but rather analyzed the observations of other astronomers. His heliocentric theory was completely at odds with the position of the Catholic Church, which supported the geocentric theory of Ptolemy, which held that the Earth was the center of the universe and everything else revolved around it. 

Because his model would surely have brought criticism of heresy--a very serious charge--Copernicus delayed publication of his work until just before his death, some thirteen years later. However, for nearly a hundred years after its publication, there was little opposition to the heliocentric model. Few people knew of it or understood it, nor did many recognize its implications. It was, however, to be a truly revolutionary development.

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