TYCHO BRAHE - BIRTHDAY
Tycho Brahe (born Tyge Ottesen Brahe; 14 December 1546 – 24 October 1601) was a Danish nobleman, astronomer, and writer known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical observations. He was born in the then Danish peninsula of Scania (now Sweden). Tycho was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer, and alchemist. He has been described as "the first competent mind in modern astronomy to feel ardently the passion for exact empirical facts". Most of his observations were more accurate than the best available observations at the time.
Image: 1586 portrait of Tycho Brahe framed by the family shields of his noble ancestors, by Jacques de Gheyn.
Tycho Brahe was born as heir to several of Denmark's most influential noble families and in addition to his immediate ancestry with the Brahe and the Bille families, he also counted the Rud, Trolle, Ulfstand, and Rosenkrantz families among his ancestors. Both of his grandfathers and all of his great grandfathers had served as members of the Danish king's Privy Council. His paternal grandfather and namesake Thyge Brahe was the lord of Tosterup Castle in Scania and died in battle during the 1523 Siege of Malmö during the Lutheran Reformation Wars. His maternal grandfather Claus Bille, lord to Bohus Castle and a second cousin of Swedish king Gustav Vasa, participated in the Stockholm Bloodbath on the side of the Danish king against the Swedish nobles. Tycho's father Otte Brahe, a royal Privy Councilor (like his own father), married Beate Bille, who was herself a powerful figure at the Danish court holding several royal land titles. Both parents are buried under the floor of Kågeröd Church, four kilometres east of Knutstorp.
An heir to several of Denmark's principal noble families, Tycho received a comprehensive education. He took an interest in astronomy and in the creation of more accurate instruments of measurement. 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. His system correctly saw the Moon as orbiting Earth, and the planets as orbiting the Sun, but erroneously considered the Sun to be orbiting the Earth. Furthermore, he was the last of the major naked-eye astronomers, working without telescopes for his observations. 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 sublunar phenomena and were therefore not tailless comets in the atmosphere as previously believed but were above the atmosphere and beyond the 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.
King Frederick II granted Tycho 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 Uraniborg 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, Tycho went into exile. He was invited by the Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II to Prague, where he became the official imperial astronomer. He built an 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. - Wikipedia
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