Astronomer Copernicus's remains to be re-buried after 467 years

Other News Materials 28 December 2009 19:06 (UTC +04:00)

The remains of Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, excavated in 2005 by archeologists in north-eastern Poland, are to be re-buried next year, a church spokesman said Monday, DPA reported.

Copernicus's skull and leg bones were discovered during excavations by Polish archeologists four year ago at the Frombork Cathedral, in the town where Copernicus made key observations.

A DNA test confirmed the bones as belonging to the Renaissance polymath in 2008.

The church spokesman of the diocese of Warmia, where Copernicus died, said the astronomer's bones are to be buried under the altar of the Frombork Cathedral on May 22. Work on a two-tonne tombstone of black granite is set to begin in January.

The burial is to coincide with the 750th anniversary of the founding of Frombork, where Copernicus was a member of the church.

Nicolaus Copernicus is most famous for his work On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, first printed in 1543 in Nuremburg, Germany.

In it, he offered a heliocentric view of the cosmos which challenged the geocentric model of Ptolemy - in other words, that the earth went around the sun, rather vice-versa.

The latter had been Church dogma for hundreds of years.