Even though there is compelling evidence that certain teachers in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece understood that the Sun was at the centre of our solar system – and that Earth and the other planets revolved around it – Giordano Bruno was one of the brave pioneers of the renaissance who taught about Heliocentricity… and by ‘brave’ I mean he was killed for his teachings and remained defiant right up to the end.
The Theosophists later took a keen interest in his work, and when I wrote a magazine article a few years ago about their grand old mansion in Sydney called The Manor, I found that they established their radio station early last century with call sign 2GB, after his initials. The station is still going and very popular today. Dr Annie Besant, one of the founders of Theosophy, claimed to be a reincarnation of Bruno.
Bruno's infinite universe was filled with a substance—a "pure air", aether, or spiritus—that offered no resistance to the heavenly bodies which, in Bruno's view, rather than being fixed, moved under their own impetus (momentum).
Bruno's cosmology distinguishes between "suns" which produce their own light and heat, and have other bodies moving around them, and "earths" which move around suns and receive light and heat from them. Bruno suggested that some, if not all, of the objects classically known as fixed stars are in fact suns. He has been recognized by some as the first person to grasp that "stars are other suns with their own planets.”
In early 1600, Pope Clement VIII declared Bruno a heretic, and the Inquisition issued a sentence of death. According to the records, GB is said to have made a threatening gesture towards his judges and to have replied: Maiori forsan cum timore sententiam in me fertis quam ego accipiam ("Perhaps you pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it").