Mars meets the sun, Kepler steals the gold: This week on The Storyteller’s Night Sky

In his 1609 “Commentaries on the Movement of Mars,” German astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote, “I’m stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to construct a tabernacle to my God from them, far distant from the boundaries of Egypt.” 

This week, the planet Mars involves its once-every-two-years assembly with the solar, on Saturday.

Legend holds that Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was observing Mars when he was struck with the inspiration that the Earth was orbiting the solar. He died in 1543, earlier than this sun-centered system was absolutely established.

Then got here Johannes Kepler, born about 30 years later, and who devoted his analysis to discerning the cosmic concord described on this planetary movement.

Whereas Copernicus imagined the planets shifting in round orbits across the solar, it was Kepler who realized that planets transfer in ellipses, which actually opens up the poetic creativeness, for the circle, whereas complete, doesn’t require as a lot consciousness in relationship as an ellipse does.

Kepler described how the planets transfer in ellipses round a central physique that doesn’t occupy the middle of the ellipse, however certainly one of two focal factors.

Because of this planets generally orbit nearer and generally additional away from the central object, and their velocity adjusts accordingly. This isn’t simply the magic of celestial mechanics, however the demonstration of a divine concord that fashions a great social type.

The traditional Egyptians sought to emulate this cosmic concord and it’s this that Kepler was stealing from them, to dedicate the belief of this excessive cosmic order to the glory of his God, centuries later.

The anniversary of Kepler’s loss of life is Wednesday, Nov. 15.


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