Jason Best, Sara Maene, Peter Usher
Mercury Magazine Vol. 30, No. 5, pp. 38-41, 2001.
. . . Copernicus introduced his heliocentric model in 1543 . . . But Copernicus did not provide the other half of this universal equation: the extension of the realm of the universe beyond our solar system into infinite space filled with stars like our Sun. This was the work of Thomas Digges . . .
In his A Perfit Description, Digges put forth arguments beyond those advanced by Copernicus . . . He believed that if the stars were like Suns, then their enormous distances would cause them to appear much fainrter than the Sun, and thus to appear like the stars we see at night . . . he made a profound inductive leap by proposing that the distribution of stars extended to infinity.
In A Perfit Description . . . Digges represented his model in a cartoon . . . the English public was educated through this cartoon . . .
According to historians . . . Johnson and . . . Larkey: "The conception of . . . the varying distances of the stars seems . . . to have become linked . . . with the Copernican system . . ."
To test whether this notion persists to the present age, we investigated the incidence in modern elementary textbooks . . . of the four chief competing models in the 16th century . . . only 9% contained the Diggesian cosmology. . . The present results support the Johnson- Larkey hypothesis . . .
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