this series honors Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)

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The quotations are taken from Six Books on the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, by Nicholas Copernicus, published in 1543.

Neon Mercury

In Book V, Copernicus pointed out that the planet Mercury "wanders in more convolutions than does Venus or any of the [other planets] … the narrowest of Mercury's elongations from the sun occur in the sign of the Balance, and wider elongations (as is proper) in the opposite sign [the Ram]."

"Yet its widest elongations do not occur in this place, but in certain others to either side, namely, in the Twins and Water Bearer …. This displacement occurs in no other planet."

"However, in order that this last planet too may be rescued from the affronts and pretenses of its detractors, and that its uniform motion, no less than that of the other aforementioned planets, may be revealed in relation to the earth's motion …."

Observational data and geometric proofs add precision to a theory.

Using recent as well as ancient observations — and two sets of geometric proofs — Copernicus concluded that "nature has played a game with this planet and its remarkable variability, which has neverthless been confirmed by its perpetual, precise, and unchangeable orderliness."