What do we learn from our own solar system?
What is the Earth’s place in the Universe? This question is intimately connected with that of the existence of other inhabited worlds, and is as old as the human race. The Greeks, following the teachings of Aristotle, placed the Earth at the centre of everything. For more than 1,000 years this was the prevalent theory, in spite of the work of early thinkers such as Aristarchus of Samos (who lived around 300 BC) and, many centuries later, Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1463), both of whom proposed a heliocentric (Sun-centred) model. It is to Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) that we owe the accession of the heliocentric system, now known as the Copernican system. In 1543 (the year that Copernicus died) his radical book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium was published.
KeywordsSolar System Heliocentric Distance Giant Planet Terrestrial Planet Protoplanetary Disk
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