Johannes Kepler

Describe the contribution of ... Kepler to our understanding of the Solar System

Johann Kepler lived from 1571-1630 in Germany. He succeeded the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe as Imperial Mathematician to the Holy Roman Emperor. He discovered a supernova in 1604 and made improvements to the telescope.

Johann Kepler saw problems with the Copernican view of a heliocentric system and amended it because it was not mathematically perfect. Planets did not orbit in circlular but elliptical orbits. He observed set laws that governed how objects move. By the time of Isaac Newton the theory had been proved and accepted as fact.

He is best know for his laws which greatly contributed to how scientists mathematically understood the sky.


  1. Planets move in elliptical orbits around the Sun.
  2. Planets move faster the nearer they are to the Sun.
  3. There is a relationship between the distance of a planet and the time it takes to orbit the Sun.



Animation New Window

Kepler's Laws

Links New Window

NASA Profile Kepler


How did Kepler's ideas contribute to the early understanding of our Solar System?