Astronomy Fundamentals

Medieval Andrenaissance Astronomy

What influence did the Catholic Church have on astronomy in medieval Europe?

Most historians agree that the immense power of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages stifled astronomical study in Europe during that time. One tenet of Catholic dogma stated that space was eternal and unchanging; so, for example, when people observed a supernova in 1054 C.E., its occurrence was recorded in other parts of the world but not in Europe. Another part of Church dogma erroneously declared that the Sun, Moon, and planets moved around Earth. By the 1500s, a thousand years after the fall of Rome, the Catholic Church finally began to contribute again to the science of astronomy, such as with the development of an accurate calendar.


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