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Section 2: The Enduring Earth-Centered System
In the Renaissance few ancient ideas were more esteemed than the spherical form that was ascribed to the starry realm. The heavenly vault was celebrated in words and engravings. Some authors added a "crystalline heaven" beyond the "eighth sphere" of the fixed stars. Below it were the seven spheres surrounding the earth: those of the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Many earth-centered works of astronomy were published long after Copernicus suggested placing the sun in the center of the universe. In 1614, Christoph Scheiner argued that birds would lose their way if the earth revolved below them and cannonballs would miss their mark. For Scheiner and many others, the heavenly spheres of the planets continued to move by the guided influence of the outermost sphere of the fixed stars.

Sacro Bosco
Above, clockwise:

* Astronomia is holding a geocentric model and an astrolabe in Johannes de Sacro Bosco's Sphaera Mundi, 1490.

* An earth-centered universe with allegorical figures from Utriusque Cosmi Maioris Scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica by Robert Fludd, 1617.

* A three-dimensional, transparent geo-centric sphere of stars is depicted in Giovanni Gallucci's Theatrum Mundi et Temporis, 1588.

Geocentric universe in Peter Apian's Cosmographia, 1550.
Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology
5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64110
This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Mr. & Mrs. James B. Hebenstreit and Mrs. Lathrop M. Gates.