Earth’s Orbit Interactive

Heliocentrism is the scientific model that first placed the Sun at the center of the Solar System and put the planets, including Earth, in its orbit. Historically, heliocentrism is opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center. Aristarchus of Samos already proposed a heliocentric model in the third century BC. In the sixteenth century, Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus presented a full discussion of a heliocentric model of the universe in much the same way as Ptolemy had presented his geocentric model in the second century. This “Copernican revolution” resolved the issue of planetary retrograde motion by arguing that such motion was only perceived and apparent. “Although Copernicus’s groundbreaking book. . . had been [printed more than] a century earlier, [the Dutch mapmaker] Joan Blaeu was the first mapmaker to incorporate his revolutionary heliocentric theory into a map of the world. ”