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The Life and Works of Aristarchus

Aristarchus was not just a man of astronomy. He was also actively

involved in mathematics as well as astronomy. He used his knowledge in

both fields to discover great advances in the astronomy world like the

fact that the earth rotates on its own axis and that the sun is in a fixed

position and that the earth revolves around it. Even though Aristarchus'

ideas and hypotheses were not approved by the rest of the astronomers

and mathematicians in the Greek world they did not persecute him.

The exact date that Aristarchus died is not sure of but it is guessed

that he was born around 310 BC in Greece. They think that he died

around 230 BC in Greece. Not really anything is known about his

childhood or his parents. But some of his mentors that helped him with

his thirst for knowledge are Archimedes and Strato of Lampsacus. Strato

of Lampsacus was head of Aristotle's Lyceum but Aristarchus is thought

to have studied with him in Greece and not Athens. In 287 BC Strato

succeeded Theophrastrus and became head of the Lyceum at Alexandria.

It is assumed that Aristarchus started studying with him there shortly

after with some very smart and influential men. It's thought that

Aristarchus made his observations of the summer solstice during

One of Aristarchus' observations was in the correction of Callipus'

estimate of the length of they year. Aristarchus added 1/1623 of a day to

it and in doing that he discovered six astronomical hypotheses and form

those six he founded eighteen propositions. They were all regarding the

measurement of the sizes and distances of various stars and planets

relative to the known diameter of the Earth. But, of all his discoveries and

conclusions Aristarchus is most celebrated as the first to propose a

sun-centered universe and for trying to determine the sizes and distances

He is only considered to have tried or pioneered the distances a


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