Difference Between Heliocentric and Geocentric Theory

When talking about how man has conceived the universe and the different theories that try to explain universal phenomena, it is necessary to talk about heliocentric and geocentric theories. Both constituted philosophies whose statements tried to provide answers to the questions that were raised about the functioning of the universe and its effects on our planet.

In this article we will point out the most notable differences between these two theories, based on the characteristics of each of them for the consideration of the readers.

Heliocentric theory

The heliocentric theory was proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543, who held the idea that the sun was the center of the solar system. This theory marked the beginning of a revolution in the field of astronomy, since it indicated the falsity of the geocentric theory.

The heliocentric model had among its characteristics that, from the beginning, it received much less support than the geocentric theory, due to the influence of religion. It underwent many changes and contributions throughout history, until reaching the real vision of the universe that we have today. Among those variations can be mentioned the fact that the sun was thought to be the absolute center of the universe. Later, the sun was believed to be the absolute center of our galaxy – the Milky Way – and later of the solar system. Also, orbits were first thought to be circular, until Johannes Kepler proposed that planetary orbits must be elliptical, not perfect circles.

This theory had been previously described by Aristarchus of Samos, who also considered in his approaches that the sun, in addition to being at the center of the universe, said that the earth rotated once a day on its axis and completed one revolution around it every year. he.

Geocentric theory

The geocentric theory was proposed by Aristotle but reinforced by Claudius Ptolemy in the second century, he considered that the earth was the center of the universe and the stars, including the sun, revolved around the Earth. This theory was valid until the 16th century when it was replaced by the heliocentric theory. On the other hand, he had a lot of support from the representatives of the church, since he supported the idea that the earth was the center of the universe and of divine creation and those who opposed this theory were frowned upon by religion. .

It can be said that it was not a highly developed theory and did not undergo many changes, since, at that time, the contrary ideas were not accepted by the highest religious and political representatives. Some religious fundamentalists, mostly believers in the creationist theory (theory that considers that God is the creator of the universe and everything in it), still support their claims by indicating that the earth is the physical center of the Universe, which is called modern geocentrism or neo-geocentrism.

In view of the above, it can be said that the main differences between the two theories are:

  • In the geocentric theory the earth was considered to be the center of the universe while in the heliocentric theory the sun was considered to be the center of the universe.
  • The geocentric theory was proposed by Aristotle and was later reinforced by Ptolemy, while the heliocentric theory was proposed by Nicholas Copernicus based on the approaches of Aristarchus of Samos.
  • The geocentric theory is the oldest theory and points out that the earth was in the center of the universe where the sun was included while the heliocentric theory arose in opposition to the geocentric theory.
  • The geocentric theory had a lot of support from the representatives of the church who did not allow ideas contrary to it, while the heliocentric theory did not have much support from the church and rather considered it prohibited.

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