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Ptolemaic astronomy


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The system of astronomy originally proposed by Apollonius of Perga in the third century bc and completed by Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria (100–178 ad). It assumed that the earth was at the centre of the universe and that each known planet, the moon, and the sun moved round it in a circular orbit, called the deferent. In addition to this motion the orbiting bodies also described epicycles, small circles about points on the deferent. The system gave moderately good predictions, but was completely replaced by the heliocentric astronomy of Copernicus in the 16th century. The Ptolemaic system was published by Ptolemaeus in the work known by its Arabic name, the Almagest.


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