May 24, 1543 â€“ Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus dies in Frombork, Poland, aged 70. Copernicus is best known for advocating a heliocentric model of the Solar System, in contradiction to the long accepted geocentric model. During his lifetime, he privately circulated copies of his theory via a short outline written in Latin called the â€œLittle Commentary.â€ His magnum opus On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres was published around the time of his death, sparing him any unpleasantness from Catholic authorities. Copernicusâ€™ work advanced modern astronomy and set the stage for Galileoâ€™s confrontation with the Church beginning in the early 1600s.
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