What are the main differences and similarities between the old heliocentric model and the modern day model of the solar system?

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Dec 14, 2017


Man's vision of himself as the object of the Creation.


Whether the Sun or the Earth were at the centre of the system it was not really the issue. It was, but there was another more substantial and subliminal one.

God created man (and woman) as His ultimate act. Humans were made at His image, they were given the world as their home. How could they possibly not be the centre of it?

Phaethon ran the Sun's chariot to the ground. Joshua stopped the Sun in its track with a simple gesture. The Heliocentric model was indeed an anthropocentric model.

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There were a few models already in antiquity. Even a heliocentric one. But the one that survived for many centuries was devised by Claudius Ptolemy based on the Earth in the centre of 8 revolving spheres.
Attached to each of these crystal clear spheres were the 7 luminaries: the Moon, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. That is the 7 visible asters in the night sky by the naked eye. Beyond Saturn was the final sphere to which were pinned the zodiacal constellations and the other "fixed" stars.

The seven internal spheres rotated independently from one another each at its own speed and its own axial inclination. Minor adjustments, due mostly to inaccurate observations, were taken care of by adding "epicycles" to each planet, that is local gyrations for a given short time.

I am not going to describe the heliocentric model that you will find everywhere. Suffices to say that Copernicus conceived it with circular orbits because, God having built it as a symbol of His own perfection, could only have chosen the perfect circle for their path.
It was Kepler who realised that, to make it work, orbits could only be elliptical.

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