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The Problem of the Planets

The publication of Nicholas Copernicus' ON THE REVOLUTIONS OF THE HEAVENLY SPHERES in 1543 is often thought to mark the beginning of a revolution not only in astronomy, but in Western thought more broadly construed.

Co-taught by a physicist and a philosopher, this course will explore the scientific, historical, and philosophical implications of Copernicus's proposal, with special emphasis on his solution to the age-old problem of planetary motion.

In the process, it will offer students the opportunity to work with some of the unique materials in the Library's Department of Special Collections.

Course Syllabus (PDF)

Group Assignments (PDF)

Astronomy Books Online


De revolutionibus orbium coelestium [On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres]. Norimbergae: apud Ioh. Petreium, 1543. 6, 196 numbered leaves, tables, diagrams.


Astronomiae instauratae mechanica [Instruments for the Restoration of Astronomy]. Noribergae: apud L. Hvlsivm, 1602. 107 unnumbered pages, illustrations, map, plans.

See Note on Typography for guidance with reading and transcription.


Copernicus' De revolutionibus

Brahe's Mechanica

Other Books Online

Lehigh University Digital Library

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