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Sorry, my bad. I was confusing "center of the solar system" with "center of the universe". --Ed Poor 15:21, 29 March 2007 (EDT)

I have reluctantly left in the word "generally" that someone else inserted. With the 20th century discoveries of relativity, orbit in the Milky Way, Big Bang, etc, heliocentrism is pretty obsolete. RSchlafly 15:45, 29 March 2007 (EDT)

You can't be serious about heliocentrism being obsolete. There's no other way to explain retrograde motion of the planets, unless you bring up epicycles, which have never once been observed by any spacecraft, satellite, or telescope. This page needs a great deal of work, and i would recommend you just scrap what you have and start over. I'd be willing to do it, but something tells me you dont agree with me that the sun is the center of the solar system... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jwalker (talk)

When he says heliocentrism is obsolete, I doubt he's saying that the earth and other planets in the solar system don't revolve around the sun. I think he's pointing out that the entire universe is not centered at the sun. The entire solar system revolves around the center of the milky way, in the same way that the moon revolves around the earth while the earth revolves around the sun. Hermann1359 17:19, 31 January 2008 (EST)

I have made some changes to the article in an effort to clarify. Clearly no-one holds a heliocentric view of the universe any more. Even a strict heliocentric view of the solar system does not really work because orbits are elliptical (although that might be getting to a level of detail that is beyond the scope of this article). I think that the paragraph referring to relativity is incorrect, however. Where orbits are concerned there are preferred frames of reference. More editing required I think. --GDewey 17:26, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Orbits are eliptical, yes, but still centered on the sun... Barikada 18:00, 31 January 2008 (EST)
The sun is at one of the foci, not the center. --GDewey 18:11, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Ah, curses. Public school lied to me again. So what is at the center of the solar system, if not Sol? Barikada 18:24, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Well, I did suggest that I might be descending into a level of detail that was beyond the scope of the article. I suspect that it would be a bit difficult to determine the exact centre of the solar system at any given point in time. In fact, now that I think about it I am not sure that I fully understand exactly what is meant by the exact center of the solar system. --GDewey 18:32, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Yeah, it is a bit beyond the scope. However, Sol is the closest thing we have to a center... Barikada 18:34, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Hey, Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that we revolve around something else. I was merely pointing out that the sun is not a fixed central point (as it is often conceived). --GDewey 19:39, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Why do yo say heliocentrism became less popular in the 1700s? It became MORE popular. RSchlafly 22:23, 31 January 2008 (EST)
I was referring to the concept of the sun being the center of the universe, not the concept of the sun being the center of the solar system. The latter became more popular, the former less so. --GDewey 22:29, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Perhaps the article should be sectioned, with one bit dedicated to the center of the universe view, the other to the center of the solar system view? To avoid things like this, of course. Barikada 22:32, 31 January 2008 (EST)
What is the purpose to making the distinction? In ancient times, the solar system was the known universe. RSchlafly 23:13, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Keyword there being ancient. Bats were also called birds, but we don't class them as such now. Barikada 23:16, 31 January 2008 (EST)

Back to where we started

I see the article is back to where it was.

Problem is that it just ignores the most commonly understood definition of heliocentrism: the sun as center of the solar system.

I note that RSchlafly didn't bother telling anyone that he was going to make the edit. I assume therefore that he will have no problem with me doing the same. --GDewey 21:03, 1 February 2008 (EST)

I did discuss the changes. By heliocentrism, people usually mean the models of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, etc, and they put the Sun at or near the center of the universe. I also fixed the statement about the 1700s and 1800s. RSchlafly 02:06, 3 February 2008 (EST)

Proposed changes

Not sure why this got blocked after one instance of vandalism -- but so it goes.

1) Propose distinguishing between two types of heliocentrism -- the center of the universe and the center of the solar system. We're conflating two uses of the term here, and that causes confusion.

2) Propose clarifying that while systems can legitimately be described in any reference frame, inertial reference frames are privileged, because they don't require the introduction of fictitious forces. Thus, you can describe the universe as centered on an immobile Earth, but that requires you to introduce all sorts of fictitious forces to explain why the enormously massive sun inexplicably curves around us. the solar system is better and more simply described as centered on the sun.

3) I added some new articles to aid in explaining the issue -- inertial reference frame and fictitious forces. Ungtss 15:44, 27 September 2008 (EDT)