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Astronomer Copernicus believed excavated in Polish cathedral
[Computerized portrait made available by Polish police of a man who is probably Nicolaus Copernicus]
Human remains excavated in a cathedral in northern Poland are very likely those of the Renaissance astronomer Nicolas Copernicus, archaeologists working in the cathedral said.
The remains of a 70-year-old man were dug up near the altar of the cathedral in Frombork where Copernicus held the office of canon.
A police laboratory in Warsaw used the skull to make a virtual reconstruction of the man's face which resembled portraits of Copernicus, a key figure in the scientific revolution of the 16th century with his heliocentric theory of the solar system.
Archaeologists said a scar on Copernicus' head visible in a portrait corresponded to a mark near the eyebrow on the skull.
"It is very likely that it is the skull of Nicolas Copernicus," said Jerzy Gassowski of the Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology in the central Polish town of Pulutsk, who is directing excavations in the cathedral.
"Our starting theory, according to which canons were buried at the time near the altar of their church, has been confirmed," Gassowski said on Polish television.
Copernicus, who lived from 1473 to 1543, developed the heliocentric theory which took account of the orbit of planets round the sun.
His best known work, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, was published a few days before his death and in 1616 was condemned by Pope Paul V as being contrary to the Biblical Scriptures.
There's been some speculation on other forums about why it was so hard to find him. Generally though people recognize that his observations were a pain for the Catholics, the ruling power of the day. Hiding his remains may have been the way to keep the church from descreating them.
He would have been very out of favor with the ruling power, the Catholic Church. Might partially explain why it was so hard to locate him.
When I die I want to be cremated. Then I'd like my ashes to be put in orbit around Earth or the Moon. It's a bit pricey, but I've always had expensive, and unaffordable taste
And not exactly a final burial place as these are sent into low-earth-orbit. Orbital decay will eventually cause the capsules containing (a small portion of the ashes at that) the cremated remains to burn up in the upper atmosphere. So it will be earthbound but not in one piece.