Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe (tī´kō brä), 1546–1601, Danish astronomer. The most prominent astronomer of the late 16th cent., he paved the way for future discoveries by improving instruments and by his precision in fixing the positions of planets and stars. From Brahe's exact observations of the planets, Kepler devised his laws of planetary motions (see Kepler's laws). Brahe's achievements included the study of a supernova (first observed in 1572 and now known as Tycho's supernova) in the constellation Cassiopeia and the discoveries of a variation in the inclination of the lunar orbit and of the fourth inequality of the moon's motion. He never fully accepted the Copernican system but made a compromise between it and the Ptolemaic system. In the Tychonic system, the earth was the immobile body around which the sun revolved, and the five planets then known revolved around the sun. Given funds by the Danish king Frederick II, Brahe built on the island of Ven a castle, Uranienborg, and an observatory, Stjarneborg. He was deprived of his revenues by Christian IV in 1596 and left Ven (1597); in 1599 he settled near Prague under the patronage of the German emperor Rudolf II. He published (1588) De mundi aetherii recentioribus phaenomenis, the second volume of a projected three-volume work on his astronomical observations; from an incomplete manuscript and notes Kepler edited Volume I, Astronomiae instauratae progymnasmata (1602). Brahe's Astronomiae instauratae mechanica (1598) contained his autobiography and a description of his instruments.

See biographies by J. L. Dreyer (1890, repr. 1963) and J. A. Gade (1947).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Tycho Brahe: Selected full-text books and articles

A History of Science, Technology, and Philosophy in the 16th & 17th Centuries By F. Dannemann; A. Wolf George Allen & Unwin, 1935
Librarian's tip: Chap. VI "The Progress of Astronomy: Tycho Brahe and Kepler"
The Sleep Walkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe By Arthur Koestler Macmillan, 1959
Librarian's tip: "Tycho de Brahe" begins on p. 283 and "Tycho and Kepler" begins on p. 301
Great Men of Science: A History of Scientific Progress By Philipp Lenard; H. Stafford Hatfield Macmillan, 1933
Librarian's tip: "Tycho Brahe" begins on p. 17
Foundations of Modern Cosmology By John F. Hawley; Katherine A. Holcomb Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "Tycho Brahe" begins on p. 38
Science and the Renaissance By W. P. D. Wightman Oliver and Boyd, vol.1, 1962
Librarian's tip: Chap. VII "On the Heavens"
From Myth to Modern Mind: A Study of the Origins and Growth of Scientific Thought By Richard H. Schlagel Peter Lang, vol.2, 1996
Librarian's tip: "Tycho Brahe" begins on p. 69
The Power of the Written Word: The Role of Literacy in the History of Western Civilization By Alfred Burns Peter Lang, 1989
Librarian's tip: "Tycho Brahe begins on p. 242
Death of Tycho Brahe By Cavendish, Richard History Today, Vol. 51, No. 10, October 2001
Astronomy through the Ages: The Story of the Human Attempt to Understand the Universe By Robert Wilson Taylor & Francis, 1997
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Tycho Brahe begins on p. 57
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