Western Imagination 10/29/14

Finishing Old World View. The Scientific Revolution. The Revolution is Cosmology. Series of challenges to old ways of thinking in many fields. Focus on cosmology; what was most Revolutionary. Beginning with Copernicus. Had the idea of rearranging things if swapped the position  of the Sun and the Earth. (For coming up with a calendar purpose.) Influenced by Humanism. (Copernicus that is..) Neo-Platonic though. Copernicus comes up with the Heliocentric idea. It is revolutionary because not only does the position of the Earth change, but it is also, in motion. Provides better explanation for retrograde motion. Result of earth and planet moving at different speeds against backgrounds of the stars. Effect known as parallax. Copernicus didn’t provide experimental supper for it (not his forte), Galileo did (the guy was an experimentalist.)

First to use telescope for astronomical observation. Galileo. (He didn’t invent the thing though.) What Galelio did with the telescope was revolutionary. No one else tried looking at the sky.

Everything he saw was the first time anyone else saw it. Everything he saw was support for Copernicus or something that didn’t fit with Aristotle view. Moon – craters- such imperfection were not supposed to be in perfect heavens (moon – celestial object not supposed to have geological, terrestrial features i.e. valley, mountains, craters.)

Saw Medicean Moons. (Jupitar’s moons.) Saw a lot more stars – where could they come from. Jupitars’ moons. Noticed extra stars around Jupitar Moved. Concluded they were moons of Jupitar. In Copernican model Earth is one of the planets. It circles the sun.

Jupitars moons do the same thing.

Saturn – couldn’t see the rings but could see it wasn’t a perfect sphere. Its a revolutionary planet. Where did that come from. Unexpected. Not what Aristotle said.

Looked at Sun. Saw Sunspots. WHAT. Imperfections?? “Blemishes.: On an allegedly perfect heavenly body. Definitely not perfect and unchanging like they said it was supposed to be.

Together Copernicus’s theory and Galelio’s observations begin to destroy Aristolian Cosmos.  

But – still assumed circular motions in heavens. Kepler – kept good records over long time. No telescope but very precise naked eye observations. Used data to calculate orbit of Mars. (Over years Mars that this coordinate, you know, Mars here, Mars there…) Results were Published in Astromial Nova. OMG. ITs not a circular motion pattern thing – its an Ellipse. Kepler – Ellipse. Destroyer of old world circular rotation thought.

This has to be wrong he thought – but no – He’s right.

Ellipses don’t have centers so sun is not at center. Another attack on the old Newton: Fg = G m1 m2 / r2


No longer meant the inherent heaviness of an object, but the force of attraction between two objects. It applied EVVERYWHERE instead of 4 Elements under the moon. That’s the revolutionary part. True in all of Universe. Earth. And Heavens. Not two different Laws of nature. One Law. One single mathematical formula. Everything challenged was revolutionized. Complete turn. Next – Enlightenment.


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