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InthepostAristotelianmodelsofthephysicaluniverse,theprimarygoal

wastoretaincircularmotion.Solongasthemotionofaplanetcouldbe
modeledusingoneormorecircles,themodelwasdeemedsuccessful,
howevercomplicated.
TheGreekastronomersrecognized,earlyon,thatcirclescenteredexactlyon
theEarthdidn'tworkverywellforallowingthemtoaccuratelypredictthe
futurepositionsoftheplanets.Asaresult,theyhadtoabandonaliterally
geocentricuniversemadeofcirclescenteredontheEarth.
ThesimplestfirststepinGreekmathematicalastronomyistoplaceplanets
oncircularorbits.
Thesecondstepistomovethecenterofthecircularorbitasmalldistance
awayfromtheEarth.Thisnonearthcenteredcircleisknownasan
eccentric.Thisverysimplemodelissufficienttomodeltheperceived
orbitalmotionoftheSun.
Notethattheplanetwillmovewithconstantlinearandangularspeed,
asseenfromthecenteroftheorbit,butnotasseenfromEarth.

Notealsothattheobservedsizeandbrightnessandangularspeedacrossthe
skyoftheplanet,asseenfromEarth,willchangethroughanorbitalthough
thetruesizeandbrightnessandangularspeedalongthecirclewillbe
unaltered.

Thethirdstepistoplacetheplanetonanepicycle.Oncetheepicycleis
defined,themaincirclethatdefinestheplanet'sorbitisknownasthe
deferent.Theplanetmovesinsteady,circularmotionaroundtheepicycle
whilethecenteroftheepicylemovesinsteady,circularmotionaroundthe
centerofthedeferent.
Noteagainthatallcharacteristicsoftheplanet(size,brightness,speed)are
unalteredbutthosequalitiesareperceivedtochangeasseenbyan
Earthboundobserver.

Ptolemy'sinnovationwastoinventapointknownastheequant,equal
distantfromthecenterastheEarthbutplacedsymmetricallyontheopposite
sideofthecenterofthedeferentfromEarth.Now,althoughthedeferentis
centeredonthecenterofthecircle,themotionoftheepicyclealongthepath
ofthedeferentismeasuredwithconstantangularspeedasseenfromthe
equant.