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Distance and velocity in Kepler's astronomy*

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We will examine Kepler's use of a relation between velocity and distance from a centre of circular motion. This relation plays an essential role, through a derivation in chapter 40 of the Astronomia Nova , in the presentation of the Area Law of planetary motion. Kepler transcends ancient and contemporary applications of the distance-velocity relation by connecting it with his metaphysical commitment to the causal role of the Sun. His second main innovation is to replace the astronomical models of his predecessors with an account that derives trajectories from physical principles. In this paper we restrict our attention primarily to the first 40 chapters of Kepler's Astronomia Nova . Hence, we do not discuss Kepler's discovery of elliptical planetary orbits.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Science Study Center (Price House), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, USA 2: Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA

Publication date: 1994-01-01

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