|Until the Renaissance, it was generally accepted that the Earth was at the center of all things. Copernicus found that putting the Sun at the center solved some problems with the “geocentric model”, such as the apparent “retrograde motion” of the planets (something we’ll explore in this lab). However, his “heliocentric model” with circular orbits for the planets still did not adequately fit the data on the apparent motion of the planets as seen from Earth. Since a key aspect of a scientific model is to make accurate predictions, its inability to do so indicated that it needed refining. It was Kepler who provided the necessary refinements to the Copernicus' theories and dramatically increased the accuracy of the heliocentric model. These changes had profound effects on navigation and ultimately all of astronomy.|
|Click Here to view the Historical Background of Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe. It is not required for this lab.|
The purpose of this lab is to learn how astronomical objects move through space. Under the influence of gravity planets, stars and galaxies move according to well defined laws called Kepler's laws. You will learn about the three Kepler's laws in this lab.