History

Modern astronomy

Modern astronomy

Using the data collected by Brahe, his assistant, Johannes Kepler, formulated the laws of planetary motion, stating that the planets revolve around the Sun and not in circular orbits with uniform motion, but in elliptical orbits at different speeds, and that their relative distances with respect to the Sun they are related to their periods of revolution.

Kepler worked for many years trying to find a model that would explain planetary movements using Neoplatonic thoughts and Copernicus' heliocentric system for this purpose.

After trying, unsuccessfully, with countless "perfect" geometric shapes, he tried variations of the circle: the ellipses, with which exactly the data obtained during the observations agreed. This contradicted one of the Pythagorean paradigms that were still considered true after 2000 years.

Kepler's laws can be summarized as follows:
1.- The planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits being east in one of its foci
2.- A line drawn between a planet and the sun sweeps equal areas in equal times.
3.- The cube of the average distance of each planet to the Sun is proportional to the square of the time it takes to complete an orbit.

But the victory of modern Science was not complete until a more essential principle was established: the free and cooperative exchange of information between scientists. Although this need seems to us now evident, it was not so much for the philosophers of Antiquity and for those of medieval times.

One of the first groups to represent such a scientific community was the "Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge", known worldwide, simply, by "Royal Society". He was born, around 1645, from informal meetings of a group of gentlemen interested in the new scientific methods introduced by Galileo. In 1660, the "Society" was formally recognized by King Charles II of England. However, he still did not enjoy prestige among scholars of the time.

This mentality changed thanks to the work of Isaac Newton, who was named a member of the "Society". From the observations and conclusions of Galileo, Tycho Brahe and Kepler, Newton arrived, by induction, to his three simple laws of movement and to his major fundamental generalization: the law of universal gravitation.

The scholarly world was so impressed by this discovery, that Newton was idolized, almost deified, already alive. This new and majestic Universe, built on the basis of a few simple assumptions, now made the Greek philosophers pale. The revolution that Galileo initiated at the beginning of the 17th century was completed, spectacularly, by Newton, at the end of the same century.

Newton also modified the telescopes by creating the Newtonian reflector telescopes that allowed the clearer observation of very dim objects. The development of this and other optical systems, gave astronomy a fundamental turnaround and began to discover, describe and catalog thousands of celestial objects never observed.

In the 17th century this great revolution unveiled great astronomers who were building modern and current astronomy: Simon Marius (detected from the Andromeda Nebula in 1612), Christoph Scheiner (He studied sunspots 1630), Johannes Hevelius (He made precise observations of the moon and comets from his observatory in Dantzing), Christian Huygens (discovered Saturn's ring and its Titan satellite), Giovanni Domenico Cassini (discoverer of 4 Saturn satellites), Olaus Römer (determined the speed of light to from the eclipses of the satellites of Jupiter in 1676) and John Flamsteed (founded the Greenwich Observatory in 1675 and made a large celestial catalog).

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Astronomy in the RenaissanceAstronomy in the 18th century