Kepler's Universe

posted Nov 23, 2010, 12:24 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Dec 4, 2012, 2:03 AM ]

...based on having grasped the significance of this diagram:

Kepler was suddenly struck with the idea that the reason that there were SIX planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), and not 20 or 30, was that there are only FIVE regular polyhedra:

·        triangles: 4, 8, 20

·        squares: 6

·        pentagons: 12

...and that the placement of one geometrical figure nesting within another might hold a key to understanding the relation between the planetary orbits.  That is to say, the key to understanding how the solar system was created by God the mathematician is therefore geometry.

Kepler wrote a book called Mysterium cosmographicum (1596), in which he tried to produce a model for these planetary orbits ... and put the sun at the centre.