AstroShop Support Resources Education Events Publications Membership News About Us Home
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific


   home > publications > mercury


Publications Topics:




ASP Conference Series


Monograph Publications


IAU Publications



Books of Note



Purchase through the AstroShop





Publications of the ASP (PASP)




Mercury Magazine




Guidelines for Authors


Order Mercury Issues


Mercury Advertising Rates




The Universe in the Classroom



ASP E-mail Newsletters


Special Features



Astronomy Beat


Contact Us

Copernicus’s Neglected Successor  

Mercury, Sep/Oct 2001 Table of Contents

celestial diagram

Thomas Digges was the first to envision a physically infinite universe of stars, but his contribution is often overlooked.

by Jason Best, Sara Maene, and Peter Usher

Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) introduced his heliocentric model in 1543 in his seminal publication De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies). This work provided the first mathematically sound alternative to the standard geocentric model that Claudius Ptolemy (fl. 140 A.D.) had brought to an advanced stage of perfection in the Almagest. At the heart of Copernicus’s model were two arguments: that the apparent diurnal rotation of the sky was more easily explained by a rotating Earth; and that the apparent retrograde motions of the planets were more easily explained if the Sun was the center of the planetary system.

But Copernicus did not provide the other half of this universal equation: the extension of the realm of the universe beyond our solar system into an infinite space filled with stars like our Sun. This was the work of Thomas Digges (1546?-1595), an Englishman born a few years after Copernicus’s death.


home | about us | news | membership | publications

events | education | resources | support | astroshop | search

Privacy & Legal Statements | Site Index | Contact Us

Copyright ©2001-2012 Astronomical Society of the Pacific