The Ptolemaic model

Saturday, May 19, 2012
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Anybody who watches the night sky soon picks up repeating patterns. Orion dominates the winter sky, the moon goes through its phases, and the planets meander through the ecliptic. For centuries scientists explained the night sky's movement and structure via the Ptolemaic model, which placed the Earth at the center and surrounded it with spheres that held the celestial objects. 

It was a flawed model, and observations quickly began to accumulate that pointed to its problems. However, much of its appeal was that it tied to the Greek's geometry, and their belief that the sphere was the perfect object. Math sometimes does that -- overwhelms observational science with its elegance. 

There are more examples after the jump, and at La boite verte where I found these drawings.   





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