Star of Kepler




German astronomer (1571 - 1630). Johannes Kepler is a key figure in the scientific revolution. Astronomer and mathematician, known for his laws on the movement of the planets in their orbits around the Sun. He was a collaborator of Tycho Brahe. Kepler, was born in Würtemberg, Germany, the year 1571. His parents aroused interest in astronomy. With five years, his mother took him to a high place to observe the comet of 1577. When he was nine years old, his father made him contemplate the eclipse of the moon on January 31, 1580. He always remembered that the moon looked quite red. Between nine and eleven years of age he had to work as a laborer in the field. In 1584, he entered the Protestant Seminary of Adelberg. In 1589 he entered the University of Tübingen. There he studied ethics, dialectics, rhetoric, Greek, Hebrew and astronomy. In that year, his father left again for the war and disappeared from his life forever. His math teacher, the astronomer Michael Maestlin, taught him the heliocentric system of Copernicus whose explanation was reserved for the best students. The other students took as true the geocentric system of Ptolemy, which affirmed that the Earth was immobile occupying the center of the Universe; and that the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars revolved around him. Kepler became a convinced Copernican and maintained a very close relationship with his professor; Later, he did not hesitate to ask for help or advice for his work. University of Tübingen. While planning to become a Lutheran minister, he learned that the Protestant school in Graz was looking for a math teacher. He left his theology studies to take the position, in 1594. In Graz, he published almanacs with astrological predictions. Kepler devoted most of his life to the attempt to understand the laws of planetary motion. At first, he considered that the movement of the planets had to fulfill the Pythagorean laws of harmony or the music of the celestial spheres. He tried to show that the distances of the planets from the Sun were given by 6 spheres nested successively, one inside the other. In these spheres would be the 6 planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. In 1596, he wrote a book in which he presented his ideas ("The Cosmic Mystery"). Four years later, in 1600, he accepted the collaboration proposal made by Tycho Brahe, astronomer of the Emperor Rudolph II, who at the time had built the best astronomical observation center of that time, in the castle of Benatky, near Prague. Tycho Brahe then had the best planetary observations data, much more accurate than those handled by Copernicus, but he refused to share them with Kepler. Only when he was already on his deathbed, Tycho agreed to bequeath Kepler the data from the orbits of the planets that he had been collecting for years. Thanks to these data, the most precise and abundant of the time, Kepler could go deducing the real orbits of known planets. Benatky Castle. On October 17, 1604, Kepler observed a supernova in our own Galaxy, which would later be called Kepler's star. The star could be observed with the naked eye for 18 months after its appearance. The supernova is only 13,000 light years away from us. No subsequent supernova has been observed in historical times within our own galaxy. A little later, in 1615, his mother was already 68 years old and had a guest house. But she also practiced as a healer and was accused of witchcraft. Persuaded of his innocence, Kepler spent six years working on his defense before the courts and writing numerous allegations. She spent a year locked in the tower of Güglingen although, thanks to her son, she escaped torture. Finally, she was released on September 28, 1621. Debilitated by the harsh years of trial and imprisonment, she died six months later. Initially Kepler tried to elaborate his planetary model with the circumference, for being the most perfect of the trajectories, but the observed data did not fit correctly to that model. Fortunately, Tycho had focused on Mars, which has a very pronounced elliptical; otherwise it would have been impossible for Kepler to realize that the orbits of the planets were elliptical and not circular. Unable to accept that God had not arranged for the planets to describe the simplest geometrical figure, he devoted himself with boundless determination to try all kinds of combinations of circles. When he was convinced of the impossibility of achieving it with circles, he experimented with ovals. Contrariado, when not being able to adjust a pertinaz difference of eight minutes of arc between the real data and his theoretical model