In the 1700's Thomas Wright
and William Herschel (England) using an 18 inch reflecting
telescope discovered a new planet called Uranus. The data also
suggested that the Milky Way might in fact be a flat disc of
stars in which the Sun was embedded. This information was putting the
significance of Earth even farther from the original Ptolemaic theory.
Then in the 1920's Harlow Shapley and Jan Oort put the
final indignation to the Earth centered theory, by saying that we
lived in a fairly typical galaxy amongst hundreds of millions of
other. Albert Einstein in the early 1900's developed the theory
of relativity, that put the Earth in a position in space and time that
would have been unthinkable to early civilizations.