MoMath + Wolfram

Funding for this project generously provided by Overdeck Family Foundation


1596

Kepler's Planetary System

Nested regular solids model the solar system

Kepler's 1596 work Mysterium Cosmographicum (The Cosmographic Mystery) envisioned a solar system whose dimensions were based on the nesting of the five regular solids in concentric spheres centered on the Sun. It was therefore a Copernican system representing Kepler's belief that God constructed the universe through geometry.

Kepler's Planetary System

By circumscribing and inscribing the five regular (Platonic) solids on spheres, Kepler obtained a family of nested spheres that was consistent with his geocentric theory of planetary motion. A depiction of this nested polyhedral model appeared in his 1596 work Mysterium Cosmographicum with the title "Tabula III: Orbium planetarum dimensiones, et distantias per quinque regularia corpora geometrica exhibens." While Kepler did not construct a physical model, a number of museums, including the Kepler Museum in Weil der Stadt near Stuttgart, have done so.

Artifact format

Original is a diagram; some museums have constructed physical models

Artifact origin

Graz, Austria

Timeline

Polyhedra timeline Burnt City Dice Euclid's Elements Pottery Sherd Icosahedron Construction Serpentinite Icosahedral Die Icosahedral Die with Divine Entities Da Vinci's Polyhedra Kepler's Planetary System

Interactive Content

Computational Explanation