Brahe, Tycho


Brahe, Tycho

biographical name

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Tycho Brahe, engraving by Hendrik Goltzius of a drawing by an unknown artist, c. 1586.—Courtesy of Det Nationalhistoriske Museum på Frederiksborg, Den.

(born Dec. 14, 1546, Knudstrup, Scania, Den.—died Oct. 24, 1601, Prague) Danish astronomer. Kidnapped by his wealthy but childless uncle, he was raised at his uncle's castle and educated at the Universities of Copenhagen and Leipzig. He traveled through Europe (1565–70), acquiring mathematical and astronomical instruments, and, on inheriting his father's and uncle's estates, he built a small observatory. In 1573 he reported his discovery of a new star (later recognized as a supernova), news that shook faith in the immutable heavens. With the aid of Denmark's King Frederick II, he built a new, larger observatory (Uraniborg), which became northern Europe's centre of astronomical study and discovery. There he undertook a comprehensive study of the solar system and accurately charted the positions of more than 777 fixed stars. The observational data left at his death was used by his pupil and assistant Johannes Kepler to lay the groundwork for Isaac Newton's work.

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