St. Peter Museum of Arts & Science

Presenting: Renaissance Astronomers

Exhibit on Renaissance Astronomers

Several key figures during the 16th and 17th centuries challenged previous theories on astrology and astronomy. Renaissance astronomers such as Galileo and Copernicus made discoveries that greatly contributed to the Scientific Revolution. Come see their early innovations and theories at the St. Peter Museum of Arts and Sciences.


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Nicolaus Copernicus 1473-1543

Copernicus thought that the sun was at the center of the universe instead of the Earth. The Catholic Church adopted ancient astronomers' theories that the Earth was at the center of the universe and that everything revolved around it. Over several decades of his life, Copernicus studied astronomy and believed that previous accounts were incorrect and adopted the heliocentric view that the Earth and other planets revolved around the Sun. After his death, his famous published work, On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, spread across Europe.

Tycho Brahe 1546-1601

He was a Danish nobleman/astronomer who adopted part of Copernicus's heliocentric theory. Brahe believed that the sun revolved around the Earth (since Earth was the center of the universe), however the other planets revolved around the Sun. Like Copernicus, Brahe made his observations with the naked eye.

Refraction Telescope

Both Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler developed similar models of the telescope during the early 17th century. Many models will be developed with a similar concept for the next three hundred years.

Galileo Galilei 1564-1642

Considered in history as the most significant astronomer of the Scientific Revolution period. He adopted Copernicus's heliocentric theory. He made several discoveries in the solar system in regards to moons around planets, changes in planets, and the role of Earth itself in the solar system. His theories were scrutinized by the Catholic Church and was forced to recant his theories and put under house arrest. There he continued and recorded his lifelong research into his published work Two New Sciences.

Galileo Galilei: An Abbreviated Biography