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The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order

Robert Westman


In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus publicly defended his hypothesis that the Earth is a planet and the sun a body resting near the center of a finite universe. But why did Copernicus make this bold proposal? And why did it matter? This book reframes this pivotal moment in the history of science, centering the story on a conflict over the credibility of astrology that erupted in Italy just as Copernicus arrived in 1496. Copernicus engendered enormous resistance when he sought to protect astrology by reconstituting its astronomical foundations. The book shows that efforts to answer the astrological sk ... More

Keywords: 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus, earth, planet, sun, body, center, finite universe, astrology, Italy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780520254817
Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520254817.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert Westman, author