It's Nicolaus Copernicus's 540th birthday today. He is widely considered the father of modern astronomy and is best known for arguing that the Earth revolves around the sun--a controversial stance until the mid-17th century. Before he found his calling in heliocentrism, however, Copernicus was a versatile scholar who studied several unrelated fields, including church law and medicine. And while it's implanted in our heads that the Catholic Church skewered anyone who espoused heliocentrism, Copernicus actually had a fine relationship with the Church. At the beginning of his career, he was elected canon, a position just below bishop. He dialed down his church work before pursuing astronomy, and afterward found both supporters and detractors in the Church.