Having had a love of astronomy since childhood, I remember from an early age reading about Copernicus, the 16th century father of modern astrology. His pioneering work ‘De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium’ (On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres) suggested that the Earth rotated on its axis once a day and travelled around the sun once a year. This shocked people, and more especially the Church at the time as the idea that the Sun was in fact the centre of the universe and not the Earth was unthinkable! The Church declared him to be a heretic and banned his book in 1616, some years after his death in 1543.
At the time of his death, the body of Copernicus was put into an unmarked tomb in the cathedral of his hometown of Frombork, Poland and there it lay for centuries until it was finally located after a long search, in 2005. The remains were positively identified by DNA testing in 2008, by comparing the bones and a tooth from the remains, to two strands of his hair found in a book that Copernicus once owned.
And so, this Saturday the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus were once more laid to rest as his coffin was entombed in the 14th century cathedral of Frombork, his northern Polish hometown, and his grave marked by a black granite headstone engraved, quite aptly, with a map of the solar system.
Rest in Peace Nicolaus Copernicus.