AE 313 Space Mechanics

A Brief History
Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy)
The Almagest
Earth-centered Universe
Based on Babylonian
observations
Motion comprised of
perfect circles: deferent
and epicycles
Ptolemy on the Web
85 - 165
Nicholas Copernicus
Heliocentric model
Simply rearranged
Ptolemy’s system
(epicycles had 1 year
periods)
Replaced epicycles with
single circles
Copernicus on the Web
1473 - 1543
Tycho Brahe
Danish nobleman &
“Party Animal”
Duel
Death
Maintained the Geocentric
view (Tychonian system)
Eclipse ÷ Astronomy
Extensive systematic
observations
Planetary parallax
Brahe on the Web
1546 - 1601
Galileo Galilee
Italian “physicist”, of the scientific
revolution
Invented telescope
Observed lunar craters
Discovered the 4 Galilean moons of
Jupiter
Disproved “center of motion cannot be
in motion”
Trouble with the Inquisition over
“Dialogue on the Two Great World
Systems”
Salvati, Sagreto, Simplicito
Simplicito: Respected commentator on
Aristotle, but means idiot in Italian
Galileo on the Web
1564 - 1642
Johannes Kepler
German Astronomer,
Imperial Mathematician
Assistant to Tycho Brahe
Kepler’s Laws
Planets: Elliptic orbits
Equal areas in equal times

Successfully predicted transit
of Venus
Kepler on the Web
1571 - 1630
2
2 3
4
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t
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Isaac Newton
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia
Mathematica
Law of Gravitation
Laws of Motion (derived Kepler’s Laws)
Invented calculus (so did Leibnitz)
Doctorate in 1668 contained none of
these!
Theory of Color – poor reviews
19 years later, Halley published at own
expense
Others: momentum, binomial theorem,
contributions to fluid mechanics
Newton on the Web
1642 - 1727