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Transition From Geocentric to Heliocentric Model of Universe

transition from geocentric to heliocentric

We all know how difficult it is to convince people to believe this fact. So, making a transition from geocentric to heliocentric model wasn’t that easy for people. The philosophers at the time convinced people to believe in what they knew as the geocentric model of the universe.

At that time, trying to convince people that our universe was heliocentric was like saying the earth is flat. Almost everyone thought that this model was right, so it took a lot of time for people to transition from geocentric to the heliocentric model.

What is the geocentric model?

In simple terms, the geocentric model is the theory that projects the earth as the center of the universe. Ancient philosophers like Ptolemy and Aristotle were the propagators of this theory.

what is geocentric model?
What is the geocentric model?

So, as per this model, the stars, the moon, the sun, and all the other planets rotated around our planet. We cannot blame people for believing this theory as it appeared as correct.

The sun seemed to rotate around the earth every single day. Additionally, the law of motion wasn’t out by then. Therefore, from the perspective of an observer, the earth didn’t move, and it was stationary.

What is the heliocentric model?

Conversely, heliocentrism is a model that explains that the planets, moon, and earth revolve around the sun. This theory states that the sun is the center of our solar system.

The 16th-century Mathematician, Nicolaus Copernicus proposed this theory which was later amended by Galileo Galilei. Using his telescope, Galileo was able to prove that the geocentric model was wrong. However, people had held on to this thought for centuries, and he surely got his share of hatred for trying to disprove it.

transition from geocentric to heliocentric
Heliocentric model

At the time, proposing this kind of theory was absurd. If it weren’t for scientists like Copernicus and the telescope, we would probably still be believing in the prior model. Without Newton and Galileo’s contributions transitioning from geocentric to heliocentric model, wouldn’t have been easy.

Why was the Geocentric model wrong?

People only moved to the heliocentric model once it was widely researched and studied. Even the Church didn’t accept the model until the 1750s. They had banned the model.

So, for people to transition from geocentric to heliocentric model, the former needed to be proved wrong. This took years for scientists to believe and show. Given the technological progress at that time, all of the theories required mathematical solutions to prove it. After years, on the following grounds, the geocentric model was wrong:

Why was the Geocentric model wrong?
  1. The celestial bodies didn’t revolve around the earth.
  2. The retrograde motion of mars, which scientists explained by adding loops to their orbits, was wrong.

Scientists later rejected the theory through their observations and mathematical solutions. However, the model was right to some extent, like predicting eclipses and making calendars. But it wasn’t enough to stop people from transitioning from geocentric to the heliocentric model.

How was the geocentric model disproved?

There were people before Copernicus who had proposed a heliocentric model. The Aristarchus of Samos had already predicted this model long before Copernicus did. However, the ideas caved into Aristotelian beliefs.

It was risky for Copernicus to come up with a theory that contradicted the Church’s beliefs. This was a set back at that time since the Church even arrested him for this model. Nonetheless, his model wasn’t completely free from error, either. This was only a new idea that was simpler to understand.

Why the Geocentric model was wrong?
How was the geocentric model disproved?

So, until Galileo and Newton entered the picture, people widely believed in the geocentric model. With the use of their telescope and enormous mathematical understanding, they disproved the former theory. This needed mass observation and calculations. This is how the transition from geocentric to heliocentric model was made.

However, Newton’s law of motion and gravitation supported this model. So, now we can, without any doubt, believe that our earth moves around the sun and not the other way round.

Is the heliocentric model correct?

Many scientists have studied and tried to disprove this theory, but this model has been able to stand its ground till now. The model correlates with the mathematical calculations and widely explains the structure of the universe. People have gone up to space and observed this phenomenon by now.

Geocentric vs. Heliocentric model

However, there are cases where these calculations bring complications in understanding the movement of celestial bodies. Until now, the heliocentric model reigns scientific belief. Transitioning from the geocentric model to heliocentric was hard enough.

With further technological improvements, there might be additional updates in theory. But for now, whether we like it or not, this model is the right one. So, the question is the heliocentric model entirely correct can be answered in the future.