Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630) was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, and key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution. He is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican Astronomy. They also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation. (from Wikipedia)

In his Astronomia Nova 1609, Kepler pronounced (as quoted verbatim in Pair Spolter Graviational Forces of the Sun, ISBN 0-9638107-5-8)

1st Law - The orbit of a planet is elliptical and the Sun the source of motion is in one of the foci of this ellipse.

2nd Law - The apparent diurnal arcs of one eccentric are almost exactly proportional to the square of their distances from the Sun.

3rd Law - The periodic times of any two planets are to each other exactly as the cubes of the square roots of their mean distance.

Kepler's first book was entitled Mysterium Cosmographicum, or "The Secret of the Universe."

While teaching astronomy and mathematics in Graz, Kepler remained receptive to questions that would usually be ranked as philosophical. In particular, he wanted to know why there were six planets, why they were spaced as they were, and why they moved as they did. These were common questions for a natural philosopher to ask, but an astronomer was not usually reckoned responsible for these kinds of inquiries. Yet Kepler attempted not only to use Copernicus's heliocentric system, but to justify it as physically real. The theory based on the perfect solids, and published in the Mysterium, came to him, he claimed, in something approaching a revelation.

Kepler believed that his model using the five Platonic solids was perfect because it answered two of his three questions so elegantly. He proposed that the six planets moved in spaces defined by the spheres fitted around the five solids. These solids were the simplest, and therefore the most desirable, three-dimensional figures, and Kepler reasoned that God had based the solar system on them. This would account for that fact that there were exactly six planets, and also for the spaces between their orbs. The two images above are his own portrayals of this model, that on the right being a close-up view of the central planets. Kepler spent considerable time and money trying to get a real device made to these specifications, in hopes of presenting it to a courtly patron. But he never succeeded. Even so, and although he modified his theory slightly when he wrote the Harmonices Mundi, he continued to believe in its fundamental principles until he died. http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~winter/unilab/module1650/kepler/3d.html

See Also

Kepler Music of the Spheres
Kepler Music Theory
Kepler Theory of Harmony
Kepler's First Law
Kepler's Second Law
Kepler's Third Law
Propositions of Astronomy

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Tuesday March 22, 2016 06:23:18 MDT by Dale Pond.