Unit 27: Brahe, Kepler, and the Early Followers of Copernicus
- History Web Lecture: This section is pretty straightforward: we look at the accomplishments of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who sought to reconcile the Copernican theory with the idea that the earth could not move. We also look at the work Kepler did in determining that the orbit of Mars was an ellipse, not a circle.
- Science Web Lecture: Mathematics is so integrated into physics and astronomy that we don't think of either as possible without the mathematical analysis of data and the expression of physical laws as mathematical. Here we lok at some "abstract" mathematical expressions and their application to physical situations.
- Homework: Students prepare a report on a specific planet in the solar system to share with other students during class.
- Discussion: Our focus is on two areas.
- Since there was no observational evidence for the motion of the earth, what other criteria convinced early adopters that Copernicus' theory was superior to Ptolemy's?
- Kepler's laws are "empirical" laws: that is, they describe a relationship or proportion in physical entities, but cannot explain why the relationship occurs.
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