Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

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Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

Postby pernero » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:44 pm UTC

I've come across two similar questions on a simple first year astronomy practice test.
They each have four possible answers, but only three are plausable.

1) Who developed the theoretical basis for planetary motion?
2) Who developed the empirical replationships that define planetary motion?

The possible answers are: Kepler, Aristotle(unlikely), Newton.

Each answer could be attributed to Kepler, but I'm leaning more toward Newton for the second answer.

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Re: Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

Postby Anubis » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:03 am UTC

Actually, this is pretty straightforward. Kepler's laws were empirical (and based mostly, iirc, on data collected by Tycho Brahe). Newton was able to derive them theoretically from his laws of motion and universal gravitation (which, again iirc, was an important confirmation of Newton's laws).
Last edited by Anubis on Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

Postby Vieto » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:27 am UTC

I'm leaning the same way as Anubis.

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Re: Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

Postby Kow » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:06 am UTC

Just to clarify and denounce Aristotle as a correct answer, he's known for placing the planets and starts in an element known as Aether, the fifth outside of fire earth air and water. Therefore he couldn't be known for either of those two questions. He did, however, put down a base for the scientific method by which later scientists produce their results.

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Re: Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

Postby rflrob » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:57 am UTC

pernero wrote:Each answer could be attributed to Kepler, but I'm leaning more toward Newton for the second answer.

I also concur with everything that's been said above. Given that you were leaning towards Newton for the "empirical" result, though, I'd just like to remind you that "empirical" means derived from observation, without any real justification.

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Re: Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

Postby Diadem » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:38 am UTC

Well Newton's laws are empirical as well, aren't they.

Both questions are really too vague to answer. The second one is probably Kepler, but it depends on which 'empirical replationship' they mean. The first one is even more vague. Who developed the theoretical basis that allows planets to move? Well I'd say the universe did. God, if you believe in him. Or do they mean 'who came up first with the concept that planetery movement is described by theoretical models'. Pff, then it's Aristotle, or even someone before him. Who first came up with the first correct theoretical model to describe planetery motion? Well Kepler, or Newton, or Einstein, depending on what you mean with 'correct'.
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Re: Strange wording (astronomical laws)...

Postby Rgeminas » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:27 pm UTC

His derivations of all of the three Kepler laws are, however, mathematically founded, not empirical.

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