A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos - Dava Sobel (2011)

Copernican Chronology

1466 Peace of Torun concludes the Thirteen Years’ War between the Prussian cities of Poland and the Knights of the Teutonic Order.

1473 Copernicus born,
February 19.

1484 Copernicus’s father dies.

1489 Copernicus’s uncle Lukasz Watzenrode elected Bishop of Varmia, February 19.

1491 Copernicus enters Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

1492 Ferdinand and Isabella expel the Spanish Jews.

Columbus voyages to the New World.

1496 Copernicus studies canon law in Bologna.

1497 Copernicus appointed canon in Frauenburg.

1500 Copernicus spends several months in Rome, gives lectures on math.

1501 Copernicus and brother, Andreas, attend Varmia Chapter meeting in July.

Copernicus enrolls as medical student at Padua in October.

1502 University of Wittenberg founded.

1503 Copernicus receives doctor of canon law degree at Ferrara, May 31; becomes bishop’s secretary and personal physician at Heilsberg in the fall.

1504 Copernicus observes great conjunction in Cancer, notes that Mars is ahead of—and Saturn behind—predicted positions.

1508 Copernicus conceives the geokinetic idea, probably begins work on his heliocentric model.

1509 Copernicus publishes his Latin translation of the Greek letters of Theophylactus Simocatta in Krakow.

1510 Copernicus leaves the bishop’s service, moves to Frauenburg, distributes his Brief Sketch as a pamphlet.

1512 King Sigismund I marries Barbara Zapolya in Krakow, February 8.

Uncle Lukasz dies in Torun, March 29, after attending the king’s wedding.

1513 “Doctor Nicholas” purchases bricks and lime to build an observing platform.

1514 Georg Joachim Iserin (later Rheticus) born, February 16.

1515 Copernicus offers opinion on calendar reform to Pope Leo X.

Full text of Ptolemy’s Almagest appears in print for the first time.

1516 Copernicus begins three-year term as administrator, November 11.

1517 Copernicus writes his Meditata on currency problems, August 15.

Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses in Wittenberg.

1518 Andreas dies in November.

1519 Teutonic Order invades Braunsberg, December 31.

1520 Grand Master Albrecht’s troops set fire to Frauenburg, January 23.

1521 War with Teutonic Knights ends; peace treaty signed, April 5.

1522 Copernicus introduces currency reform based on his essay of 1517.

Johannes Werner publishes a collection of astronomy papers in Nuremberg.

1523 Bishop Fabian Luzjanski dies, January 30.

Copernicus serves as interim bishop through October, even after Maurycy Ferber is elected Bishop of Varmia in mid-April.

1524 Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces.

Copernicus writes Letter Against Werner, June 3.

1525 Treaty of Krakow dissolves Order of Teutonic Knights, establishes

Duchy of Prussia under Duke Albrecht.

1526 Duke Albrecht marries Princess Dorothea of Denmark, February 12.

King Sigismund orders Protestant homes in Krakow burned; issues royal decree regarding new currency, July 17.

Bishop Ferber banishes Lutherans from Varmia, September 22.

1528 Rheticus’s father convicted of swindling and beheaded.

1529 Johannes Dantiscus, Polish ambassador to Spain, becomes a canon of Varmia.

1530 Canon Dantiscus, still in Spain, chosen as Bishop of Kulm.

Confession of Augsburg establishes the articles of faith for Lutherans.

1531 Copernicus, as guardian of the chapter’s counting table, writes his Bread Tariff.

1532 Canon/Bishop-designate Dantiscus returns to Poland from Spain.

Rheticus matriculates at Wittenberg using his mother’s name, de Porris.

1533 Johannes Dantiscus installed as Bishop of Kulm, April 20.

Pope Clement VII hears Copernicus’s theory described, summer.

1534 Alessandro Farnese elected Pope Paul III.

Luther Bible printed (in German) in Wittenberg.

1535 Bernard Wapowski visits Copernicus, tries to publish his almanac of planetary positions.

1536 Rheticus becomes lecturer in mathematics at Wittenberg.

Cardinal Schönberg’s November 1 letter asks Copernicus to release his theory.

1537 Bishop Maurycy Ferber dies, July 1, replaced by Johannes

Dantiscus.

Canon Tiedemann Giese becomes Bishop of Kulm.

Cardinal Schönberg dies, September 9.

1538 Rheticus goes to Nuremberg in autumn, meets Johann Schöner.

Pope Paul III excommunicates King Henry VIII.

1539 Canon Felix Reich dies, March 1.

Dantiscus issues new edict against Lutheran heresy in March.

Rheticus arrives in Frauenburg in May, completes the First Account September 23.

1540 First Account published in Danzig in March.

Rheticus returns briefly to Wittenberg to teach in December.

1541 Second printing of First Account in Basel.

Melanchthon and colleagues attempt reconciliation with Catholic Church.

Rheticus returns to Wittenberg, elected dean of Faculty of Arts in October.

Rheticus publishes On the Sides and Angles of Triangles by Copernicus.

1542 Rheticus’s term as dean ends in April; he goes to Nuremberg.

Johannes Petreius begins printing On the Revolutions at his press in May.

Copernicus writes his dedication to Pope Paul III in June.

Pope Paul III establishes the Roman Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Rheticus leaves Nuremberg for Leipzig in October.

Copernicus suffers a stroke in late November or early December, is left paralyzed on right side.

1543 Printing of On the Revolutions concludes in April.

Crown Prince Sigismund Augustus marries Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria.

Copernicus dies, May 24.

1545 Pope Paul III convenes the Council of Trent.

1546 Martin Luther dies, February 18.

1547 Rheticus suffers a five-month spiritual crisis, moves to Zurich at year’s end.

1548 Returning to Leipzig, Rheticus is elected dean of Faculty of Arts, October 13.

Bishop Dantiscus dies, October 27.

1549 Tiedemann Giese becomes Bishop of Varmia, January 25.

Rheticus’s works listed on the Index of Prohibited Books along with those of Martin Luther and Johann Schöner.

Duke Albrecht appoints Andreas Osiander head theologian of new university in Königsberg.

1550 Bishop Giese dies, October 23.

1551 Rheticus publishes his Canon of the Science of Triangles.

Accused of sodomy, Rheticus flees Leipzig in April.

1554 Rheticus moves to Krakow in spring, works as a medical doctor.

1562 Copernicus’s relative Jan Loitz renounces his canonry in order to marry, February 8.

1564 Decrees of Council of Trent prohibit interpretation of Scripture by laymen.

1566 Second edition of On the Revolutions published in Basel.

1572 Tycho Brahe observes “new star” in November, writes De nova stella.

1574 Rheticus dies, December 4.

1582 Pope Gregory XIII replaces the Julian calendar with the Gregorian.

1588 Tycho publishes his geo-heliocentric system.

1595 Bartholomew Pitiscus, Calvinist theologian and mathematician, composes his Trigonometry, which title establishes the enduring term for the science of triangles.

1596 Johannes Kepler publishes his Mysterium cosmographicum.

Valentin Otto publishes Rheticus’s work as Opus palatinum, full of errors.

1604 Kepler observes a nova.

1609 Galileo observes the Moon and Milky Way with an early telescope.

1610 Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s moons, in January, convinces him

Copernicus was right; he publishes The Starry Messenger.

1613 Pitiscus publishes new summary of Rheticus’s work, Mathematical Treasury, in Frankfurt.

1616 On the Revolutions appears on the Index of Prohibited Books, “until corrected.”

1617 Third edition of On the Revolutions published in Amsterdam.

1619 Kepler’s books listed on the Index.

1620 The Index names corrections that must be made to On the Revolutions.

1627 Kepler publishes the Rudolfine Tables.

1632 Galileo publishes his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World.

1772 Ignacy Krasicki, the last independent Bishop of Varmia, sees his diocese absorbed into the Kingdom of Prussia by the first partition of Poland.

1835 On the Revolutions and Galileo’s Dialogue dropped from the Index.

1972 Copernicus satellite launched to study ultraviolet and X-ray sources in space.

2008 First-edition copy of On the Revolutions sold at auction for more than $2 million.

2010 Copernicus’s remains, having been exhumed for scientific study, reburied in the cathedral at Frombork (formerly Frauenburg).