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Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer, mathematician and economist who developed the heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in a form detailed enough to make it scientifically useful.
Copernicus' major work, was the result of decades of labor. It opened with an originally anonymous preface by Andreas Osiander, a theologian friend of Copernicus, who urged that the theory did not necessarily have implications outside the limited realm of astronomy. Copernicus' actual book began with a letter from his (by then deceased) friend, the Archbishop of Capua, urging Copernicus to publish his theory. Then, in a lengthy introduction, Copernicus dedicated the book to Pope Paul III, explaining his ostensible motive in writing the book as relating to the inability of earlier astronomers to agree on an adequate theory of the planets, and noting that if his system increased the accuracy of astronomical predictions it would allow the Church to develop a more accurate calendar (calendar reform then being an important question and one of the major reasons for Church funding of astronomy. ...
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