Jacob Marlow Renaissance Museum

Exhibit: Astronomers from the Renaissance Era (1350 - 1650)

Exhibition of Several Renaissance Astronomers

Astronomers who lived between the 14th and 17th centuries were notable for approaching and challenging the ideas and theories about astronomy that were already thought of before. These astronomers include:

  • Nicolaus Copernicus
  • Tycho Brahe
  • Johannes Kepler
  • Galileo Galilei
Thanks to these four particular scientists, the ideas that had already existed for several centuries were proven to be wrong, which widened our span of knowledge about the mysteries of outer space.

Pictured below are Copernicus, Brahe, and Kepler, respectively.

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543)

Copernicus was known for developing a new model of the that showed the Sun as the center of our solar system and our universe. His belief was that the Earth (along with the Moon and the five already known planets) revolved around the Sun. While this happened, distant stars would be fixed in the horizon of the solar system. His belief gives a more logical and more clear explanation on why distant planets get brighter and darker at different times. This concept is contrary to the teachings of Aristotle (384 - 322 BCE), which included the Earth being the center of the universe and all things. Other early Greek teachings' archives were lost over a long period of time.

Tycho Brahe (1546 - 1601)

Tycho Brahe was most notable for the observations he made of planets and their planetary motions. Using instruments that he himself had created, he was able to judge the distance of planets (especially Mars) from Earth, and actually came very close. He also came to the conclusion that other stars were very, very, very far away. Also, he was one of the first humans to observe a supernova, or an exploding star. These observations would impact the way we think of outer space today, and would also impact the structure of new models that were created by his assistant, Johannes Kepler.

Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630)

Johannes Kepler made discoveries that would change the model of the solar system itself. Although he lived during the same period as Galileo Galilei, and even though disputes and controversies would ignite between the two, their disputes would lead to steps forward in the physics, philosophy, and astronomy departments. Kepler's greatest discoveries are his laws of planetary motion, which include:

  • Elliptical movement of planets
  • A line joining a planet and the Sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time
  • Mathematically, the square of the orbital period of a planet is directly proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit

Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)

Galileo's contributions to astronomy were perhaps some of the most noteworthy discoveries out of any astronomer. While working out of the University of Padua in Italy, Galileo constructed the world's first confirmed completed astronomical telescope. Using his telescope, his made numerous discoveries about outer space.

  • The Moon is, in fact, not made of cheese, and is covered in a mountainous, rocky, and disproportional surface.
  • The Milky Way Galaxy is comprised of a very large number of stars.
  • Jupiter has several large moons orbiting the planet, which were the first moons to be discovered after Earth's moon.
  • Studied the oval shape of Saturn, the sunspots on the Sun, and the phases of Venus.

Galileo's invention of the telescope revolutionized the way that we look at space. Recent adaptations of telescopes have allowed us to look much farther into space to see distant objects (planets, stars, galaxies, etc).

Come By and Pay Us A visit!

To learn more about astronomy in the Renaissance period, stop by the museum and take a tour!

1201 S. Minnesota Ave.

Saint Peter, Minnesota 56082

(507) 934-4392