The Expanding Universe
The Solar System: The Orrery
understandings of the solar system began
with Copernicus's On the Revolutions
of the Heavenly Spheres, published after
his death in 1543. By the eighteenth century,
astronomers had popularized the idea that
Earth was one of many planets moving around
the sun. One important teaching tool was
the orrery, an apparatus for representing
planetary motions. Christiaan
Huygens designed such a machine in 1682.
But the name of the apparatus comes from
a model built by John Rowley in 1713 for
Charles Boyle, fourth earl of Orrery.
Later designs were still more elaborate.
In a painting by Joseph Wright of Derby, A
Philosopher Giving That Lecture on the Orrery,
in Which a Lamp Is Put in Place of the Sun (1766),
enlightenment seems intellectual as well
as physical, and the philosopher resembles
portraits of Sir Isaac Newton.