History of astronomy and the Phases of Venus

In summary, it was not until Galileo pointed his telescope at the skies and discovered the phases of Venus that the idea of a heliocentric model was considered. Before this, the planets were seen as just points of light and it was difficult to imagine how a point source could show phases. However, Galileo's observations of the phases of Venus provided strong evidence for the heliocentric model. It is possible that Nicholas of Cusa, who lived 200 years before Galileo, may have had similar thoughts about the planets, but there is no documented evidence of this. Nicholas of Cusa also believed in the idea of an infinite universe, though there was no observational evidence for this at the time.
  • #1
windy miller
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Does anyone know when it was first realized that a heliocentric model of the cosmos should show the phases of Venus in the way Galileo saw them in the 17th century.?Was it known in the time of Aristarchus or did people only realize this was a consequence of helicoentrism later on, perhaps only in the 17th century Ad or ...?
Many thanks
 
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  • #2
I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone thought about it until Galileo pointed his telescope at the skies and discovered the phases of Venus. Before then the planets were just points of light. How could a point source show phases? It was Galileo that first realized that the phases of Venus were a powerful argument in favor of the heliocentric model.
 
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  • #3
phyzguy said:
I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone thought about it until Galileo pointed his telescope at the skies and discovered the phases of Venus. Before then the planets were just points of light. How could a point source show phases? It was Galileo that first realized that the phases of Venus were a powerful argument in favor of the heliocentric model.
Didn't Nicholas of Cusa (who was alive about 200 years before Galileo saw Venus through his telescope ) think of planets as bodies with living beings on them?
 
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  • #4
windy miller said:
Didn't Nicholas of Cusa (who was alive about 200 years before Galileo saw Venus through his telescope ) think of planets as bodies with living beings on them?
Maybe. If so, I'd like to see the documentation. Why would you single out the planets from the stars? They look the same except that the planets move.
 
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Well he also thought the universe was infinite, I'm not sure there was observational evidence for that either but people like to speculate. As for documentation, I have read many sources that refer to his views but I can't claim to have read his original texts. But here is an example of a brief biography, there are many others : https://www.catholicscientists.org/catholic-scientists-of-the-past/nicholas-of-cusa

Source https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/history-of-astronomy-and-the-phases-of-venus.1009674/
 

1. What is the history of astronomy?

The history of astronomy is the study of celestial objects and phenomena, including planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. It is one of the oldest sciences, with a rich history dating back to ancient civilizations.

2. How did ancient civilizations view the phases of Venus?

Ancient civilizations, such as the Babylonians and Greeks, observed the phases of Venus and believed it to be two separate objects - a morning star and an evening star. They also associated the movements of Venus with their religious beliefs and deities.

3. Who first discovered the true nature of the phases of Venus?

The true nature of the phases of Venus was first discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. He observed that Venus went through a complete cycle of phases, similar to the moon, which provided evidence for the heliocentric model of the solar system.

4. How did the phases of Venus contribute to our understanding of the solar system?

The phases of Venus played a crucial role in the development of the heliocentric model of the solar system. By observing the changing phases, scientists were able to determine that Venus orbits the sun, rather than Earth, as previously believed.

5. What modern technology has helped us study the phases of Venus?

Modern technology, such as telescopes and spacecraft, has greatly enhanced our understanding of the phases of Venus. Spacecraft, such as the Magellan probe, have provided detailed images of Venus, while telescopes allow us to observe the planet's phases from Earth.

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