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By in
on Nov 23, 2012

The Ptolemaic solar system

A schematic of how astronomers envisioned the motion of the planets before Copernicus. The Earth sat near the center of the universe. The planets moved around a small circle (the epicycle) which in moved along a larger circle (the deferent). The deferent was centered on a point (X) midway between the Earth and another spot called the equant. This complicated setup was needed to explain the complex motions of the planets. Credit: Wikipedia user Fastfission.

A schematic of how astronomers envisioned the motion of the planets before Copernicus.  The Earth sat near the center of the universe.  The planets moved around a small circle (the epicycle) which in moved along a larger circle (the deferent).  The deferent was centered on a point (X) midway between the Earth and another spot called the equant. This complicated setup was needed to explain the complex motions of the planets.  Credit: Wikipedia user Fastfission.

The Ptolemaic solar system