Born Feb. 19, 1473, in Torun, Poland, Copernicus transformed our comprehension of the solar system by properly putting the sun at its center, rather than the Earth as had long been the assumption.
In 1514, at the request of the Catholic Church, he began working to improve the accuracy of the calendar and in 1530 produced a major work of research, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).
His observations were the first to place the sun, not the Earth, at the center of the solar system, a concept dubbed heliocentrism that brought him into conflict with religious authorities.
Legend has it when he died in 1543 at the age of 70, the first printed copy of his controversial De Revolutionibus was placed in his hands.
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MAVEN now orbiting Mars