The year 2013 is said to be a year for a lot of astronomical events in the world. Comet sightings, eclipses, and meteorites falling from the sky are just some of the events that the world has witnessed in the past few months. As such, it is but fitting for Google doodle to honor one of the greatest astronomers and mathematicians ever, Nicolaus Copernicus, on his 540th birthday.
Mikolaj Kopernik, more popularly known as Nicolaus Copernicus, was born in February 19, 1473. This Polish mathematician and astronomer earned the recognition of being the father of modern astrology when his heliocentric theory refuted the belief that the earth was the center of the universe. His 1543 book entitled “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” – On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres contained postulates and diagrams that show the sun as being at the center of the universe. It took quite some time before his theories became widely accepted, but the paradigm shift that ensued led his successors to discover concrete evidence to prove his theories. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects in his theory is the use of simple mathematics in determining planetary positions and movement. The original sketches of Copernicus’ Heliocentric Theory made use of flat circular patterns to illustrate the spheres and the planets that move around it. In this Google doodle, a flat surface with a central dome serves as the platform for six discs that represent the original 6 planets in the theory and one disc for the earth’s moon.
The doodle design is simple yet it catches attention easily with the slow and mesmerizing movements of the planets around the sun. It gives some depth and a modern touch to the original heliocentric illustrations that are found in his published works. And just like his theory, there is depth in the simplicity of the design, and it presents an intriguing vision that is hard to let go until one discovers the truth behind it.