Our Solar System Essay
The Evolution of our Solar System
Observations of the stars, sun, and planets appearing to revolve around the Earth, which seem to be at motionless, lead ancient astronomers to believe the Earth was the center of the solar system.
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• Claudis Ptolemy’s version of the Geocentric Model was the most widely accepted and recognized example of the Geocentric Model.
Nicolaus Copernicus published a book on his theory of a heliocentric system, the book, De revolutionibus orbium coelstium, puts the Sun at the center of the Solar System with planets revolving around it - Our Solar System Essay introduction. It also pointed out that the Earth was in motion and that motion could explain the Retrograde motion of the planets.
The invention of the telescope has aided in the discovery of planets and moons that are further out in space.
• Improvements to the telescope provide means to understand the geological and meteorological structure and motions of other planets.
The Geocentric Model – The Earth at the center
• In the 2nd century, Ptolemy used the research of earlier Greek scientists to create his model of a geocentric Solar System.
• The Earth is the center and the planets, moon and sun revolving around it.
• The Ptolemaic Model was the most well-known and widely accepted way of explaining planetary movement and the solar system structure for thousands of years.
Courtesy Rare Book Division, Library of Congress.
Ptolemaic orbits, from “Harmonia Macrocosmica” by Andreas Cellarius, 1661
The Heliocentric Model – The Sun takes center stage
In the 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicus developed his version of the heliocentric model
The Sun has replaced Earth as the center of the universe and all of the planets including Earth revolve around the Sun. •
It was during the 17th Century that the Heliocentric reached full acceptance.
Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei became the driving forces behind the acceptance of the Copernican’s work.
The solar system according to Copernicus in the Harmonia Macrocosmica by Cellarius (1660)
The Telescope – Bringing Space down to Earth
Galileo created a telescope that could modify an object 20 times. It allowed him to verify the phases of Venus along with other discoveries. These discoveries became proof that the Copernican System was correct.
Galileo and his Telescope
On August 24th, 2006 the
International Astronomical Union
(IAU) took a vote and demoted
Pluto from the status of Planet to
Artwork by, Mathias Pedersen
What led to the demotion of Pluto?
• On October 21,2003 Mike Brown from
Caltech, Chad Trujillo from the Gemini
Observatory and David Rabinowitz from
Yale University discovered an object
orbiting the sun that was larger than
• The discovery of Eris caused the IAU to
create a committee to define what
constitutes a planet.
• On August 24, 2006 on the closing day
of the 2006 IAU General Assembly in
Prague, Resolution B5 was voted on
and accepted which defined what
constitutes a planet in the Solar System.
The impact of Pluto’s demotion
• The financial impact of Pluto’s demotion has affected
everything from re-writing teaching text to selling tshirts supporting both sides of the demotion debate. • While some agree with the demotion of Pluto and
accept the change to an 8 planet solar system,
others do not accept it causing debates among
everyone from Astronomers to students.
Everything from mugs to t-shirts centering
around Pluto’s demotion are being sold
The World Book Encyclopedia postponed
the printing of their 2007 edition until the
decision of Pluto’s fate as a planet was
The Great Debate
Clyde Tombaugh of
discovered Pluto in
1930. On September
1st 2006, weeks after
the demotion of Pluto,
and son along with
many other Pluto
at TMSU in protest
the decision to
Ptolemaic-geocentric-model.[jpeg]. Retrieved 1/17/14 from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/24/Ptolemaic-geocentric-model.jpg The solar system according to Copernicus in the Harmonia Macrocosmica by Cellarius (1660) [jpeg]. Retrieved, 1/17/14 from http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/display.cfm?Category=Planets&IM_ID=18088 Galileo and his Telescope [jpeg]. Retrieve 1/17/14 from http://www.philadelphia-reflections.com/blog/1636.htm
Poor Pluto [jpeg] by Mathias Pedersen. Retrieved 1/17/14 from http://www.mathiaspedersen.com/portfolio/3d-portfolio/poor-pluto/ Unknown [jpeg]. Retrieved 1/17/14 from http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/180052main_eris_lg.jpg http://www.iau.org/public/themes/pluto/
Unknown [jpeg]. Retrieved 1/17/14 from http://www.zazzle.co.uk/ Unknown [jpeg]. Retrieved 1/17/14 from http://www.amazon.com Pluto_protest [jpeg] by Darren Phillips, NMSU. Retrieved 1/17/14 from http://www.space.com/2848-clyde-tombaugh-family-joins-protest-plutodowngrade.html