Aristarchus of Samos

-310 - -230
human image - Aristarchus of Samos

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

country of citizenship:  Samos
languages spoken, written or signed:  Ancient Greek
occupation:  astronomer

Aristarchus of Samos (; Greek: Ἀρίσταρχος ὁ Σάμιος, Aristarkhos ho Samios; c. 310 – c. 230 BCE) was an ancient Greek astronomer and mathematician who presented the first known heliocentric model that placed the Sun at the center of the known universe, with the Earth revolving around the Sun once a year and rotating about its axis once a day. He was a student of Strato of Lampsacus, who was the third head of the Peripatetic School in Greece. According to Ptolemy, during Aristarchus' time there, he observed the summer solstice of 280 BCE. Along with his contributions to the heliocentric model, as reported by Vitruvius, he created two separate sundials: one that is a flat disc; and one hemispherical.Aristarchus was influenced by the concept presented by Philolaus of Croton (c. 470 – 385 BCE) of a fire at the center of the universe, but Aristarchus identified the "central fire" with the Sun and he put the other planets in their correct order of distance around the Sun.Like Anaxagoras before him, Aristarchus suspected that the stars were just other bodies like the Sun, albeit farther away from Earth. His astronomical ideas were often rejected in favor of the geocentric theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy. Nicolaus Copernicus knew about the possibility that Aristarchus had a 'moving Earth' theory, although it is unlikely that Copernicus was aware that it was a heliocentric theory.Aristarchus estimated the sizes of the Sun and Moon as compared to Earth's size. He also estimated the distances from the Earth to the Sun and Moon. He is considered one of the greatest astronomers of antiquity along with Hipparchus, and one of the greatest thinkers in human history. Source: Wikipedia (en)


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