The very first (known) scientist to propose a heliocentric universe was Aristarchus of Samos (ca. 310-230 BCE).
His only surviving published treatise was “On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon.” In it, he calculated how much larger the sun was than the earth. He doesn’t mention his heliocentric theory in that work, but it was surely his observations and calculations on the mass of the sun that led to it.
He published another treatise on his heliocentric theory – proposing that the Earth revolved around the sun – but it was lost, so we know of it now only by reference, especially that of Archimedes.
Most people did not ascribe to Aristarchus’ theory, particularly due to the book of Genesis in the Bible, which some believed indicated a geocentric universe.
Consequent developments of the heliocentric theory were based on observation and questioning of the problematic geocentric model.
Copernicus was the first person to popularize the heliocentric theory, and several followed him, such as Thomas Digges.
The person to bring Copernican heliocentric theory to a wide audience was Galileo, who is perhaps most famous for doing so. By the mid seventeenth century, heliocentrism was the prevailing theory.
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