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Portrait of Tycho Brahe (1596) Skokloster Castle

Tycho Brahe, born Tyge Ottesen Brahe (;Unknown extension tag "ref" 14 December 1546

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{{#invoke:Redirect template|main}}24 October 1601), was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. He was born in Scania, then part of Denmark, now part of modern-day Sweden. Tycho was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer and alchemist, and has been described more recently as "the first competent mind in modern astronomy to feel ardently the passion for exact empirical facts."<ref>Edwin Arthur Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science; a Historical and Critical Essay (1925)</ref>

In his De nova stella (On the new star) of 1573, he refuted the Aristotelian belief in an unchanging celestial realm. His precise measurements indicated that "new stars," (stellae novae, now known as supernovae) in particular that of 1572, lacked the parallax expected in sub-lunar phenomena, and were therefore not tailless comets in the atmosphere as previously believed, but were above the atmosphere and moon. Using similar measurements he showed that comets were also not atmospheric phenomena, as previously thought, and must pass through the supposedly immutable celestial spheres.<ref>Rocky Colb (1996). Blind Watchers of the Sky, p. 19-42.</ref>

As an astronomer, Tycho worked to combine what he saw as the geometrical benefits of the Copernican system with the philosophical benefits of the Ptolemaic system into his own model of the universe, the Tychonic system. Furthermore, he was the last of the major naked eye astronomers, working without telescopes for his observations.

Tycho Brahe was granted an estate on the island of Hven and the funding to build Uraniborg, an early research institute, where he built large astronomical instruments and took many careful measurements, and later Stjerneborg, underground, when he discovered that his instruments in the former were not sufficiently steady. On the island (where he behaved autocratically toward the residents) he founded manufactories such as a paper mill to provide material for printing his results.

After disagreements with the new Danish king Christian IV in 1597, he was invited by the Bohemian king and Holy Roman emperor Rudolph II to Prague, where he became the official imperial astronomer. He built the new observatory at Benátky nad Jizerou. There, from 1600 until his death in 1601, he was assisted by Johannes Kepler who later used Tycho's astronomical data to develop his three laws of planetary motion.

His body has been exhumed twice, in 1901 and 2010, to examine the circumstances of his death and to verify what material his artificial nose was made of. The conclusion was that his death was likely caused by a burst bladder as first suggested and that the artificial nose was more likely made of brass than silver or gold as believed in his time.


Tycho Brahe sections
Intro  Life  Career: observing the heavens  Tychonic astronomy after Tycho  Tycho's lunar theory  Legacy  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  External links  

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