Geocentric model

Geocentric model

Overview
In astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, the geocentric model (also known as geocentrism, or the Ptolemaic system), is the superseded theory that the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 is the center of the universe, and that all other objects orbit around it. This geocentric model served as the predominant cosmological system in many ancient civilizations such as ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. As such, most Ancient Greek philosophers
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

 assumed that the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

, Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, star
Star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s, and naked eye planets circled the Earth, including the noteworthy systems of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (see Aristotelian physics
Aristotelian physics
Aristotelian Physics the natural sciences, are described in the works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle . In the Physics, Aristotle established general principles of change that govern all natural bodies; both living and inanimate, celestial and terrestrial—including all motion, change in respect...

) and Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

.

Two commonly made observations supported the idea that the Earth was the center of the Universe.
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In astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, the geocentric model (also known as geocentrism, or the Ptolemaic system), is the superseded theory that the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 is the center of the universe, and that all other objects orbit around it. This geocentric model served as the predominant cosmological system in many ancient civilizations such as ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. As such, most Ancient Greek philosophers
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

 assumed that the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

, Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, star
Star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s, and naked eye planets circled the Earth, including the noteworthy systems of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (see Aristotelian physics
Aristotelian physics
Aristotelian Physics the natural sciences, are described in the works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle . In the Physics, Aristotle established general principles of change that govern all natural bodies; both living and inanimate, celestial and terrestrial—including all motion, change in respect...

) and Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

.

Two commonly made observations supported the idea that the Earth was the center of the Universe. The first observation was that the stars, sun, and planets appear to revolve around the Earth each day, making the Earth the center of that system. Further, every star was on a "stellar" or "celestial
Celestial sphere
In astronomy and navigation, the celestial sphere is an imaginary sphere of arbitrarily large radius, concentric with the Earth and rotating upon the same axis. All objects in the sky can be thought of as projected upon the celestial sphere. Projected upward from Earth's equator and poles are the...

" sphere, of which the earth was the center, that rotated each day, using a line through the north and south pole as an axis. The stars closest to the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

 appeared to rise and fall the greatest distance, but each star circled back to its rising point each day. The second common notion supporting the geocentric model was that the Earth does not seem to move from the perspective of an Earth bound observer, and that it is solid, stable, and unmoving. In other words, it is completely at rest.

The geocentric model was usually combined with a spherical Earth
Spherical Earth
The concept of a spherical Earth dates back to ancient Greek philosophy from around the 6th century BC, but remained a matter of philosophical speculation until the 3rd century BC when Hellenistic astronomy established the spherical shape of the earth as a physical given...

 by ancient Greek and medieval philosophers. It is not the same as the older flat Earth
Flat Earth
The Flat Earth model is a belief that the Earth's shape is a plane or disk. Most ancient cultures have had conceptions of a flat Earth, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period ...

 model implied in some mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

. However, the ancient Greeks believed that the motions of the planets were circular and not elliptical, a view that was not challenged in Western culture
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 until the 17th century through the synthesis of theories by Copernicus and Kepler.

The astronomical predictions of Ptolemy's geocentric model were used to prepare astrological charts for over 1500 years. The geocentric model held sway into the early modern age, but was gradually replaced from the late 16th century onward by the heliocentric model
Heliocentrism
Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

 of Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer and the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe....

, Galileo
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

 and Kepler
Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican...

. However, the transition between these two theories met much resistance, not only from the Catholic Church, which was reluctant to accept a theory not placing God's creation at the center of the universe, but also from those who saw geocentrism as a fact that could not be subverted by a new, weakly justified theory.

Ancient Greece



The geocentric model entered Greek astronomy
Greek astronomy
Greek astronomy is astronomy written in the Greek language in classical antiquity. Greek astronomy is understood to include the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Greco-Roman, and Late Antiquity eras. It is not limited geographically to Greece or to ethnic Greeks, as the Greek language had become the...

 and philosophy at an early point; it can be found in Pre-Socratic philosophy
Pre-Socratic philosophy
Pre-Socratic philosophy is Greek philosophy before Socrates . In Classical antiquity, the Presocratic philosophers were called physiologoi...

. In the 6th century BC, Anaximander
Anaximander
Anaximander was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia; Milet in modern Turkey. He belonged to the Milesian school and learned the teachings of his master Thales...

 proposed a cosmology with the Earth shaped like a section of a pillar (a cylinder), held aloft at the center of everything. The Sun, Moon, and planets were holes in invisible wheels surrounding the Earth; through the holes, humans could see concealed fire. About the same time, the Pythagoreans thought that the Earth was a sphere (in accordance with observations of eclipses), but not at the center; they believed that it was in motion around an unseen fire. Later these views were combined, so most educated Greeks from the 4th century BC on thought that the Earth was a sphere at the center of the universe.

In the 4th century BC, two influential Greek philosophers, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 and his student Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, wrote works based on the geocentric model. According to Plato, the Earth was a sphere, stationary at the center of the universe. The stars and planets were carried around the Earth on spheres or circles
Celestial spheres
The celestial spheres, or celestial orbs, were the fundamental entities of the cosmological models developed by Plato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus and others...

, arranged in the order (outwards from the center): Moon, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, fixed stars, with the fixed stars located on the celestial sphere. In his "Myth of Er
Myth of Er
The Myth of Er is an eschatological legend that concludes Plato's The Republic . The story includes an account of the cosmos and the afterlife that for many centuries greatly influenced religious, philosophical and scientific thought....

", a section of the Republic, Plato describes the cosmos as the Spindle of Necessity, attended by the Siren
Siren
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three dangerous mermaid like creatures, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on an island called Sirenum scopuli...

s and turned by the three Fates
Moirae
The Moirae, Moerae or Moirai , in Greek mythology, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny . Their number became fixed at three...

. Eudoxus of Cnidus
Eudoxus of Cnidus
Eudoxus of Cnidus was a Greek astronomer, mathematician, scholar and student of Plato. Since all his own works are lost, our knowledge of him is obtained from secondary sources, such as Aratus's poem on astronomy...

, who worked with Plato, developed a less mythical, more mathematical explanation of the planets' motion based on Plato's dictum
Dictum
In United States legal terminology, a dictum is a statement of opinion or belief considered authoritative though not binding, because of the authority of the person making it....

 stating that all phenomena in the heavens can be explained with uniform circular motion. Aristotle elaborated on Eudoxus' system.

In the fully developed Aristotelian system, the spherical Earth is at the center of the universe, and all other heavenly bodies are attached to 56 concentric spheres which rotate around the Earth. (The number is so high because several transparent spheres are needed for each planet.) These spheres, known as crystalline spheres, all moved together at varying speeds to create the rotation of bodies around the Earth, and were composed of an intangible substance called aether
Aether (classical element)
According to ancient and medieval science aether , also spelled æther or ether, is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere.-Mythological origins:...

. Aristotle believed that the moon was in the innermost sphere and therefore touches the realm of Earth, thus contaminating it, causing the dark spots (macula
Macula (planetary geology)
Macula is the Latin word for 'spot'. It is used in planetary geology to refer to unusually dark areas on the surface of a planet or moon. They are seen on the icy surfaces of Jupiter's moon Europa and Neptune's moon Triton. The term was adopted for planetary geology when high resolution pictures...

) and the ability to go through lunar phases. Unlike the other heavenly bodies, which shine by their own light, the moon is not perfect. He further described his system by explaining the natural tendencies of earth, water, fire, air, and aether. His system said that all earthly objects (solid objects) had a proclivity to move towards the Earth, water tended to remain on top of earth, air was the firmament between the water and fire, and that fire always tended to move in the opposite direction of earth (striving towards its natural position in the universe.) In addition, all celestial bodies in his system were composed of aether, the same material as the celestial spheres. Aristotle's system thus described why the earth was the center of the universe, and explained why the cosmos was arranged the way it seemed to be.

Adherence to the geocentric model stemmed largely from several important observations. First of all, if the Earth did move, then one ought to be able to observe the shifting of the fixed stars due to stellar parallax
Parallax
Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. The term is derived from the Greek παράλλαξις , meaning "alteration"...

. In short, if the earth was moving, the shapes of the constellation
Constellation
In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky....

s should change considerably over the course of a year. If they did not appear to move, the stars are either much further away than the Sun and the planets than previously conceived, making their motion undetectable, or in reality they are not moving at all. Because the stars were actually much further away than Greek astronomers postulated (making movement extremely subtle), stellar parallax was not detected until the 19th century. Therefore, the Greeks chose the simpler of the two explanations. The lack of any observable parallax was considered a fatal flaw in any non-geocentric theory. Another observation used in favor of the geocentric model at the time was the apparent consistency of Venus' luminosity, which implies that it is usually about the same distance from Earth, which in turn is more consistent with geocentrism than heliocentrism. In reality, that is because the loss of light caused by Venus' phases compensates for the increase in apparent size caused by its varying distance from Earth. Once again, Aristotle's objections to heliocentrism utilized his ideas concerning the natural tendency of earth-like objects. The natural state of heavy earth-like objects, he argued, is to tend towards the center of the earth and not to move unless forced by an outside object. Some people also believed that if the Earth rotated on its axis, the air and objects in it (such as birds or clouds) would be left behind.

One major flaw in the Eudoxan and Aristotelian models based on concentric spheres was that they could not explain the changes in brightness of the planets caused by a change in distance. Furthermore, the apparent inaccuracy of these systems became more prevalent over time, causing thinkers such as Ptolemy to posit new ideas and arrangements to better fit new observations.

Ptolemaic Model


Although the basic tenets of Greek geocentrism were established by the time of Aristotle, the details of his system did not become standard. The Ptolemaic system, espoused by the Hellenistic
Hellenization
Hellenization is a term used to describe the spread of ancient Greek culture, and, to a lesser extent, language. It is mainly used to describe the spread of Hellenistic civilization during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great of Macedon...

 astronomer Claudius Ptolemaeus
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 in the 2nd century AD finally accomplished this process. His main astronomical work, the Almagest
Almagest
The Almagest is a 2nd-century mathematical and astronomical treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths. Written in Greek by Claudius Ptolemy, a Roman era scholar of Egypt,...

, was the culmination of centuries of work by Hellenic
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 and Babylonian astronomers; it was accepted for over a millennium as the correct cosmological model by European and Islamic astronomers
Islamic astronomy
Islamic astronomy or Arabic astronomy comprises the astronomical developments made in the Islamic world, particularly during the Islamic Golden Age , and mostly written in the Arabic language. These developments mostly took place in the Middle East, Central Asia, Al-Andalus, and North Africa, and...

. Because of its influence, the Ptolemaic system is sometimes considered identical with the geocentric model.

Ptolemy argued that the Earth was in the center of the universe, from the simple observation that half the stars were above the horizon and half were below the horizon at any time (stars on rotating stellar sphere), and the assumption that the stars were all at some modest distance from the center of the universe. If the Earth was substantially displaced from the center, this division into visible and invisible stars would not be equal.

Ptolemaic system



In the Ptolemaic system, each planet is moved by a system of two or more spheres: one called its deferent, the others, its epicycles
Deferent and epicycle
In the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the epicycle was a geometric model used to explain the variations in speed and direction of the apparent motion of the Moon, Sun, and planets...

. The deferent is a circle whose center point exists halfway between the equant
Equant
Equant is a mathematical concept developed by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD to account for the observed motion of heavenly bodies....

 and the earth, marked by the X in the picture to the right where the equant is the solid point opposite the earth. Another sphere, the epicycle, is embedded inside of the deferent and is represented by the smaller dotted line to the right. A given planet then moves along the epicycle at the same time the epicycle moves along the path marked by the deferent. These combined movements cause the given planet to move closer to and further away from the Earth at different points in its orbit, and caused observers to believe that the planet even slowed down, stopped, and moved backward (in retrograde motion). This apparent retrograde motion was one of the largest inconsistencies in Greek cosmological systems, and was one of Ptolemy's main reasons for creating the deferent, epicycle model. The apparent retrograde motion was eventually replaced by the heliocentric model, and dispelled as an observation that is made only from earthbound observers. However, this model of deferents and epicycles made observations and predictions much more accurate than all preceding systems. The epicycles of Venus and Mercury are always centered on a line between Earth and the Sun (Mercury being closer to Earth), which explained why they were always near it in the sky.

The Ptolemaic order of spheres from Earth outward is:
  1. Moon
    Moon
    The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

  2. Mercury
    Mercury (planet)
    Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System, orbiting the Sun once every 87.969 Earth days. The orbit of Mercury has the highest eccentricity of all the Solar System planets, and it has the smallest axial tilt. It completes three rotations about its axis for every two orbits...

  3. Venus
    Venus
    Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

  4. Sun
    Sun
    The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

  5. Mars
    Mars
    Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

  6. Jupiter
    Jupiter
    Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

  7. Saturn
    Saturn
    Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus , the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani. Saturn's astronomical symbol represents the Roman god's sickle.Saturn,...

  8. Fixed Stars
  9. Sphere of Prime Mover

The deferent-and-epicycle model had been used by Greek astronomers for centuries, as had the idea of the eccentric (a deferent which is slightly off-center from the Earth). In the illustration, the center of the deferent is not the Earth but X, making it eccentric (from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ἐκ ec- meaning "from," and κέντρον centrum meaning "center"). Unfortunately, the system that was available in Ptolemy's time did not quite match observation
Observation
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

s, even though it was considerably improved over Aristotle's system. Sometimes the size of a planet's retrograde loop (most notably that of Mars) would be smaller, and sometimes larger. This mismatch prompted Ptolemy to come up with the idea of an equant
Equant
Equant is a mathematical concept developed by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD to account for the observed motion of heavenly bodies....

. The equant was a point near the center of a planet's orbit which, if you were to stand there and watch, the center of the planet's epicycle would always appear to move at the same speed. Therefore, the planet actually moved at different speeds when the epicycle was at different points on its deferent. By using an equant, Ptolemy claimed to keep motion which was uniform and circular, but many people did not like it because they did not think it was true to Plato's dictum of "uniform circular motion." The resultant system, which eventually came to be widely accepted in the west, was an unwieldy one to modern eyes; each planet required an epicycle revolving on a deferent, offset by an equant which was different for each planet. But it predicted various celestial motions, including the beginnings and ends of retrograde motion, fairly well at the time it was developed.

Geocentrism and Islamic astronomy


Due to the scientific dominance of the Ptolemaic system in Islamic astronomy, the Muslim astronomers accepted unanimously the geocentric model.

In the 12th century, Arzachel departed from the ancient Greek idea of uniform circular motion
Uniform circular motion
In physics, uniform circular motion describes the motion of a body traversing a circular path at constant speed. The distance of the body from the axis of rotation remains constant at all times. Though the body's speed is constant, its velocity is not constant: velocity, a vector quantity, depends...

s by hypothesizing that the planet Mercury
Mercury (planet)
Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System, orbiting the Sun once every 87.969 Earth days. The orbit of Mercury has the highest eccentricity of all the Solar System planets, and it has the smallest axial tilt. It completes three rotations about its axis for every two orbits...

 moves in an elliptic orbit
Elliptic orbit
In astrodynamics or celestial mechanics an elliptic orbit is a Kepler orbit with the eccentricity less than 1; this includes the special case of a circular orbit, with eccentricity equal to zero. In a stricter sense, it is a Kepler orbit with the eccentricity greater than 0 and less than 1 . In a...

, while Alpetragius proposed a planetary model that abandoned the equant
Equant
Equant is a mathematical concept developed by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD to account for the observed motion of heavenly bodies....

, epicycle and eccentric
Deferent and epicycle
In the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the epicycle was a geometric model used to explain the variations in speed and direction of the apparent motion of the Moon, Sun, and planets...

 mechanisms, though this resulted in a system that was mathematically less accurate. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi
Fakhr al-Din al-Razi
Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Umar ibn al-Husayn al-Taymi al-Bakri al-Tabaristani Fakhr al-Din al-Razi , most commonly known as Fakhruddin Razi was a well-known Persian Sunni Muslim theologian and philosopher....

 (1149–1209), in dealing with his conception of physics and the physical world in his Matalib, rejects the Aristotelian
Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school, and, later on, by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings...

 and Avicennian notion of the Earth's centrality within the universe, but instead argues that there are "a thousand thousand worlds (alfa alfi 'awalim) beyond this world such that each one of those worlds be bigger and more massive than this world as well as having the like of what this world has." To support his theological argument
Islamic theology
Islamic theology is a branch of Islamic studies regarding the beliefs associated with the Islamic faith. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However, this term has taken a significant technical usage in Islamic history and theology, denoting those...

, he cites the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic verse, "All praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds," emphasizing the term "Worlds."

The "Maragha Revolution" refers to the Maragha school's revolution against Ptolemaic astronomy. The "Maragha school" was an astronomical tradition beginning in the Maragha observatory
Maragheh observatory
Maragheh observatory is an astronomical observatory which was established in 1259 CE by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, an Iranian scientist and astronomer...

 and continuing with astronomers from the Damascus mosque
Umayyad Mosque
The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus or formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist , is located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world...

 and Samarkand observatory
Ulugh Beg Observatory
The Ulugh Beg Observatory is an observatory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg, it is considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world at the time and the largest in Central Asia before it was destroyed in 1449...

. Like their Andalusian
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 predecessors, the Maragha astronomers attempted to solve the equant
Equant
Equant is a mathematical concept developed by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD to account for the observed motion of heavenly bodies....

 problem (the circle around whose circumference a planet or the center of an epicycle was conceived to move uniformly) and produce alternative configurations to the Ptolemaic model without abandoning geocentrism. They were more successful than their Andalusian predecessors in producing non-Ptolemaic configurations which eliminated the equant and eccentrics, were more accurate than the Ptolemaic model in numerically predicting planetary positions, and were in better agreement with empirical observations. The most important of the Maragha astronomers included Mo'ayyeduddin Urdi
Mo'ayyeduddin Urdi
Mu’ayyad al-Din al-’Urdi was an Kurdish Muslim astronomer, mathematician, architect and engineer working at the Maragheh observatory...

 (d. 1266), Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
Khawaja Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan Ṭūsī , better known as Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī , was a Persian polymath and prolific writer: an astronomer, biologist, chemist, mathematician, philosopher, physician, physicist, scientist, theologian and Marja Taqleed...

 (1201–1274), Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi
Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi
Qotb al-Din Shirazi or Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi was a 13th century Persian Muslim polymath and Persian poet who made contributions astronomy, mathematics, medicine, physics, music theory, philosophy and Sufism.- Biography :...

 (1236–1311), Ibn al-Shatir
Ibn al-Shatir
Ala Al-Din Abu'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Shatir was an Arab Muslim astronomer, mathematician, engineer and inventor who worked as muwaqqit at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.-Astronomy:...

 (1304–1375), Ali Qushji (c. 1474), Al-Birjandi
Al-Birjandi
Abd Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Husayn Birjandi was a prominent 16th century Persian astronomer, mathematician and physicist who lived in Birjand, Iran.- His works :...

 (d. 1525), and Shams al-Din al-Khafri (d. 1550). Ibn al-Shatir
Ibn al-Shatir
Ala Al-Din Abu'l-Hasan Ali Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Shatir was an Arab Muslim astronomer, mathematician, engineer and inventor who worked as muwaqqit at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.-Astronomy:...

, the Damascene astronomer (1304–1375 AD) working at the Umayyad Mosque
Umayyad Mosque
The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus or formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist , is located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world...

, wrote a major book entitled Kitab Nihayat al-Sul fi Tashih al-Usul (A Final Inquiry Concerning the Rectification of Planetary Theory) on a theory which departs largely from the Ptolemaic system known at that time. In his book, "Ibn al-Shatir, an Arab astronomer of the fourteenth century," E.S.Kennedy wrote "what is of most interest, however, is that Ibn al-Shatir's lunar theory, except for trivial differences in parameters, is identical with that of Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer and the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe....

 (1473–1543 AD)." The discovery that the models of Ibn al-Shatir are mathematically identical to those of Copernicus suggests the possible transmission of these models to Europe. At the Maragha and Samarkand observatories
Ulugh Beg Observatory
The Ulugh Beg Observatory is an observatory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg, it is considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world at the time and the largest in Central Asia before it was destroyed in 1449...

, the Earth's rotation was discussed by al-Tusi and Ali Qushji (b. 1403); the arguments and evidence they used resemble those used by Copernicus to support the Earth's motion.

However, the Maragha school never made the paradigm shift
Paradigm shift
A Paradigm shift is, according to Thomas Kuhn in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science...

 to heliocentrism. The influence of the Maragha school on Copernicus remains speculative, since there is no documentary evidence to prove it. The possibility that Copernicus independently developed the Tusi couple remains open, since no researcher has yet demonstrated that he knew about Tusi's work or that of the Maragha school.

Geocentrism and rival systems


Not all Greeks agreed with the geocentric model. The Pythagorean
Pythagoreanism
Pythagoreanism was the system of esoteric and metaphysical beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans, who were considerably influenced by mathematics. Pythagoreanism originated in the 5th century BCE and greatly influenced Platonism...

 system has already been mentioned; some Pythagoreans believed the Earth to be one of several planets going around a central fire. Hicetas
Hicetas
Hicetas was a Greek philosopher of the Pythagorean School. He was born in Syracuse. Like his fellow Pythagorean Ecphantus and the Academic Heraclides Ponticus, he believed that the daily movement of permanent stars was caused by the rotation of the Earth around its axis....

 and Ecphantus, two Pythagoreans of the 5th century BC, and Heraclides Ponticus
Heraclides Ponticus
Heraclides Ponticus , also known as Herakleides and Heraklides of Pontus, was a Greek philosopher and astronomer who lived and died at Heraclea Pontica, now Karadeniz Ereğli, Turkey. He is best remembered for proposing that the earth rotates on its axis, from west to east, once every 24 hours...

 in the 4th century BC, believed that the Earth rotated on its axis but remained at the center of the universe. Such a system still qualifies as geocentric. It was revived in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 by Jean Buridan
Jean Buridan
Jean Buridan was a French priest who sowed the seeds of the Copernican revolution in Europe. Although he was one of the most famous and influential philosophers of the late Middle Ages, he is today among the least well known...

. Heraclides Ponticus was once thought to have proposed that both Venus and Mercury went around the Sun rather than the Earth, but this is no longer accepted. Martianus Capella
Martianus Capella
Martianus Minneus Felix Capella was a pagan writer of Late Antiquity, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education...

 definitely put Mercury and Venus in orbit around the Sun. Aristarchus of Samos
Aristarchus of Samos
Aristarchus, or more correctly Aristarchos , was a Greek astronomer and mathematician, born on the island of Samos, in Greece. He presented the first known heliocentric model of the solar system, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe...

 was the most radical. He wrote a work, which has not survived, on heliocentrism
Heliocentrism
Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

, saying that the Sun was at the center of the universe, while the Earth and other planets revolved around it. His theory was not popular, and he had one named follower, Seleucus of Seleucia
Seleucus of Seleucia
Seleucus of Seleucia was a Hellenistic astronomer and philosopher. Coming from Seleucia on the Tigris, the capital of the Seleucid empire, or, alternatively, Seleukia on the Red Sea, he is best known as a proponent of heliocentrism and for his theory of the origin of tides.- Heliocentric theory...

.

Copernican system


In 1543, the geocentric system met its first serious challenge with the publication of Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium is the seminal work on the heliocentric theory of the Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus...

, which posited that the Earth and the other planets instead revolved around the Sun. The geocentric system was still held for many years afterwards, as at the time the Copernican system did not offer better predictions than the geocentric system, and it posed problems for both natural philosophy
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

 and scripture. The Copernican system was no more accurate than Ptolemy's system, because it still used circular orbits. This was not altered until Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican...

 postulated that they were elliptical (Kepler's first law of planetary motion).

With the invention of the telescope
Telescope
A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation . The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 1600s , using glass lenses...

 in 1609, observations made by Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

 (such as that Jupiter
Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

 has moons) called into question some of the tenets of geocentrism but did not seriously threaten it. Because he observed dark "spots" on the moon, craters, he was able to remark that the moon was not a perfect celestial body as had been previously conceived. This was the first time someone was able to see imperfections on a celestial body that was supposed to be composed of perfect aether
Aether
-Metaphysics and mythology:* Aether , the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere* Aether was the personification of the "upper sky", space and heaven, in Greek mythology-Science and engineering:...

. As such, because the moon's imperfections could now be related to those seen on Earth, one could argue that neither was unique: rather, they were both just celestial bodies made from earthlike material. Galileo was also able to see the moons of Jupiter, which he dedicated to Cosimo II de' Medici
Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Cosimo II de' Medici was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1609 until 1621. He was the elder son of the then incumbent Grand Duke and Christina of Lorraine. He married Maria Magdalena of Austria, and had eight children....

, and stated that they orbited around Jupiter, not Earth. This was a significant claim because if true, it would mean that not everything revolved around Earth, shattering previously held theological and scientific belief. As such, Galileo's theories challenging the geocentrism of our universe were silenced by the Church and general skepticism towards any system that did not place Earth at its center, preserving the thoughts and systems of Ptolemy and Aristotle.


In December 1610, Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

 used his telescope to observe that Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

 showed all phase
Phases of Venus
The phases of the planet Venus are the different variations of lighting seen on the planet's surface, similar to lunar phases. The first recorded observations of them were telescopic observations by Galileo Galilei in 1610...

s, just like the Moon
Lunar phase
A lunar phase or phase of the moon is the appearance of the illuminated portion of the Moon as seen by an observer, usually on Earth. The lunar phases change cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun...

. He thought that while this observation was incompatible with the Ptolemaic system, it was a natural consequence of the heliocentric system.

However, Ptolemy placed Venus' deferent and epicycle entirely inside the sphere of the Sun (between the Sun and Mercury), but this was arbitrary; he could just as easily have swapped Venus and Mercury and put them on the other side of the Sun, or made any other arrangement of Venus and Mercury, as long as they were always near a line running from the Earth through the Sun, such as placing the center of the Venus epicycle near the Sun. In this case, if the Sun is the source of all the light, under the Ptolemaic system:

But Galileo saw Venus at first small and full, and later large and crescent.

This showed that with a Ptolemaic cosmology, the Venus epicycle can be neither completely inside nor completely outside of the orbit of the Sun. As a result, Ptolemaics abandoned the idea that the epicycle of Venus was completely inside the Sun, and later 17th century competition between astronomical cosmologies focused on variations of Tycho Brahe's
Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe , born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations...

 Tychonic system
Tychonic system
The Tychonic system was a model of the solar system published by Tycho Brahe in the late 16th century which combined what he saw as the mathematical benefits of the Copernican system with the philosophical and "physical" benefits of the Ptolemaic system...

 (in which the Earth was still at the center of the universe, and around it revolved the Sun, but all other planets revolved around the Sun in one massive set of epicycles), or variations on the Copernican system.

Gravitation


Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican...

, after analysing Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe , born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations...

's famously accurate observations, constructed his three laws
Kepler's laws of planetary motion
In astronomy, Kepler's laws give a description of the motion of planets around the Sun.Kepler's laws are:#The orbit of every planet is an ellipse with the Sun at one of the two foci....

 in 1609 and 1619, based on a heliocentric view where the planets move in elliptical paths. Using these laws, he was the first astronomer to successfully predict a transit
Astronomical transit
The term transit or astronomical transit has three meanings in astronomy:* A transit is the astronomical event that occurs when one celestial body appears to move across the face of another celestial body, hiding a small part of it, as seen by an observer at some particular vantage point...

 of Venus (for the year 1631). The transition from circular orbits to elliptical planetary paths dramatically changed the accuracy of celestial observations and predictions. Because the heliocentric model by Copernicus was no more accurate than Ptolemy's system, new mathematical observations were needed to persuade those who still held on to the geocentric model. However, the observations made by Kepler, using Brahe's data, became a problem not easily overturned for geocentrists.

In 1687, Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 devised his law of universal gravitation, which introduced gravitation as the force that both kept the Earth and planets moving through the heavens and also kept the air from flying away, allowing scientists to quickly construct a plausible heliocentric model for the solar system. In his Principia, Newton explained his system of how gravity, previously considered to be an occult force, conducted the movements of celestial bodies, and kept our solar system in its working order. His descriptions of centripetal force were a breakthrough in scientific thought, and finally replaced the previous schools of scientific thought, i.e. those of Aristotle and Ptolemy. However, the process was gradual.

In 1838, astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel successfully measured the parallax
Parallax
Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. The term is derived from the Greek παράλλαξις , meaning "alteration"...

 of the star 61 Cygni
61 Cygni
61 Cygni,Not to be confused with 16 Cygni, a more distant system containing two G-type stars harboring the gas giant planet 16 Cygni Bb. sometimes called Bessel's Star or Piazzi's Flying Star, is a binary star system in the constellation Cygnus...

, disproving Ptolemy's assertion that parallax motion did not exist. This finally substantiated the suppositions made by Copernicus with accurate, dependable scientific observations, and displayed truly how far away stars were from Earth.

A geocentric frame is useful for many everyday activities and most laboratory experiments, but is a less appropriate choice for solar-system mechanics and space travel. While a heliocentric frame
Heliocentrism
Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

 is most useful in those cases, galactic and extra-galactic astronomy is easier if the sun is treated as neither stationary nor the center of the universe, but rotating around the center of our galaxy, and in turn our galaxy is also not at rest in the cosmic background.

Modern geocentrism


The contemporary Association for Biblical Astronomy, led by physicist Dr. Gerardus Bouw, holds to a modified version of the model of Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe , born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations...

, which they call geocentricity.

Polls conducted by Gallup
The Gallup Organization
The Gallup Organization, is primarily a research-based performance-management consulting company. Some of Gallup's key practice areas are - Employee Engagement, Customer Engagement and Well-Being. Gallup has over 40 offices in 27 countries. World headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Operational...

 in the 1990s found that 16% of Germans, 18% of Americans and 19% of Britons hold that the Sun revolves around the Earth. A study done in 2005 by Dr. Jon D. Miller of Northwestern University
Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Northwestern has eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees....

, an expert in the public understanding of science and technology, found that one adult American in five (about 20%) thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Planetariums


The geocentric (Ptolemaic) model of the solar system
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

 is still of interest to planetarium
Planetarium
A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation...

 makers, as, for technical reasons, a Ptolemaic-type motion for the planet light apparatus has some advantages over a Copernican-type motion. The celestial sphere
Celestial sphere
In astronomy and navigation, the celestial sphere is an imaginary sphere of arbitrarily large radius, concentric with the Earth and rotating upon the same axis. All objects in the sky can be thought of as projected upon the celestial sphere. Projected upward from Earth's equator and poles are the...

, still used for teaching purposes and sometimes for navigation, is also based on a geocentric system.

Geocentric models in science fiction


Alternate history science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 has produced some literature of interest on the proposition that some alternate universes and Earths might indeed have laws of physics and cosmologies that are Ptolemaic and Aristotelian in design. This subcategory began with Philip Jose Farmer's
Philip José Farmer
Philip José Farmer was an American author, principally known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories....

 short story
Short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...

, Sail On! Sail On!
Sail On! Sail On!
"Sail On! Sail On!" is a alternate history short story from Philip José Farmer, originally published in 1952. In this alternative 1492, the Earth is flat, despite scepticism from scientists and philosophers over this geological provenance...

(1952), where Columbus has access to radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 technology, and where his Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

-financed exploratory and trade fleet sail off the edge of the (flat) world in his geocentric alternate universe in 1492, instead of discovering North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

.

Richard Garfinkle's
Richard Garfinkle
Richard Garfinkle is an American writer of science fiction.He is best known as the author of Celestial Matters, a novel published by Tor Books, which won the Compton Crook Award in 1997....

 Celestial Matters
Celestial Matters
Celestial Matters is a science fantasy novel, set in an alternate universe with different laws of physics, written by Richard Garfinkle and published by Tor Books in 1996...

(1996) is set in a more elaborated geocentric cosmos, where Earth is divided by two contending factions, the Classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

-dominated Delian League
Delian League
The Delian League, founded in circa 477 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, members numbering between 150 to 173, under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Greco–Persian Wars...

 and the Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 Middle Kingdom, both of which are capable of flight within an alternate universe based on Ptolemaic astronomy, Aristotle's
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 physics and Taoist thought. Unfortunately, both superpowers have been fighting a thousand-year war since the time of Alexander the Great.

See also

  • Claudius Ptolemaeus
  • Celestial spheres
    Celestial spheres
    The celestial spheres, or celestial orbs, were the fundamental entities of the cosmological models developed by Plato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus and others...

  • Firmament
    Firmament
    The firmament is the vault or expanse of the sky. According to Genesis, God created the firmament to separate the oceans from other waters above.-Etymology:...

  • Heliocentrism
    Heliocentrism
    Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

  • Brahmanda (Earth is in middle planetary system)
  • Religious cosmology
    Religious cosmology
    A Religious cosmology is a way of explaining the origin, the history and the evolution of the universe based on the religious mythology of a specific tradition...

  • The Flat Earth Society

External links