— Nicolaus Copernicus Renaissance mathematician, Polish astronomer, physician 1473 - 1543
Context: The forward and backward arcs appear greater in Jupiter than in Saturn and smaller than in Mars, and on the other hand greater in Venus than in Mercury. This reversal in direction appears more frequently in Saturn than in Jupiter, and also more rarely in Mars and Venus than in Mercury. Moreover, when Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars rise at sunset, they are nearer to the earth than when they set in the evening or appear at a later hour. But Mars in particular, when it shines all night, seems to equal Jupiter in size, being distinguished only by its reddish color. Yet in the other configurations it is found barely among the stars of the second magnitude, being recognized by those who track it with assiduous observations. All these phenomena proceed from the same cause, which is the earth's motion.
Yet none of these phenomena appears in the fixed stars. This proves their immense height, which makes even the sphere of the annual motion, or its reflection, vanish from before our eyes. For, every visible object has some measure of distance beyond which it is no longer seen, as is demonstrated in optics. From Saturn, the highest of the planets, to the sphere of the fixed stars there is an additional gap of the largest size. This is shown by the twinkling lights of the stars. By this token in particular they are distinguished from the planets, for there had to be a very great difference between what moves and what does not move. So vast, without any question, is the divine handiwork of the most excellent Almighty.
End of Ch. 10<!-- quoted in The Advancement of Science, and Its Burdens (1986) by p. 232 -->; the "Congregation of the Index" (the official inquisition censors) declared<!-- on 15 May 1620 --> that the last sentence of this statement was one of eleven passages which should be removed from the work, in this case because it was perceived as implying that God designed things in accord with the Copernican system, rather than that of Ptolemy.