In the sixteenth century, Nicolaus Copernicus refuted the age-old belief that the earth stands at the center of the universe. This masterly and authoritative account of his heliocentric planetary theory relates the historical background while providing a fascinating portrait of the man who clarified the basis for modern astronomy. An introduction traces the search for the laws of planetary motion from its roots in Babylonian and Greek astronomy, and sketches Copernicus' career against the stormy political background of his era. The heart of the book offers an exposition of Copernicus' epochal treatise, De Revolutionibus, which provided the broad outlines for our modern conception of the solar system. Subsequent chapters explore the progress and development of the Copernican theory through the works of Bruno, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes, as well as the theory's culmination in Newtonian philosophy and its transformation by the doctrine of relativity. A noted authority on the life and theory of Copernicus, Angus Armitage has written several volumes on the subject. Copernicus and Modern Astronomy, his most elaborate and detailed account of the astronomer's conquests, is designed to appeal to students of astronomy and the history of science as well as to readers interested in the development of modern thought. -- Back cover.