Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer whose work in measuring and fixing the positions of the stars, as well as developing astronomical instruments, paved the way for future discoveries. His observations, which were considered the most accurate possible before the telescope was invented, included the accurate positions of more than 777 fixed stars and a comprehensive study of the solar system. Let us know more about Brahe’s life and look into his greatest accomplishments.
1. He Made a Recorded Observation Of The Overlapping Of Jupiter And Saturn At a Young Age.
In August 1563, while attending the University of Leipzig, Brahe made his first recorded observation, which is an overlapping or conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Almost immediately, he discovered that the existing ephemerides and almanacs that recorded planetary and stellar positions were grossly inaccurate, like the Copernican tables being several days off in predicting the event. As an enthusiastic youth, Brahe decided to devote his life to accumulating accurate observations of the heavens in order to fix the existing tables.
2. He Discovered a New Star In The Constellation Cassiopeia.
In his small observatory in Scania on the 11th of November 1572, he suddenly saw a new star that is brighter than Venus and is located where no star was supposed to be in the Cassiopeia constellation. Carefully observing the star, he showed that it lies beyond the Moon, thus was in the realm of the fixed stars. During this time, the world would see this as a disquieting discovery, as the intellectual community kept protecting itself against future uncertainties by its confidence with the Aristotelian doctrine of the entire world’s inner and continuous harmony. This discovery by Brahe and his publication of his observations marked his transformation from a Danish dilettante to an astronomer who was reputed all over Europe.
3. He Has Corrected Most Of The Astronomical Records Known To Man.
When Brahe planned to establish an observatory in Germany, King Frederick II was prompted to keep him in Denmark and granted him title to the island of Ven, together with financial support not just for an observatory, which he then called Uraniborg after the muse of astronomy Urania, but also for the laboratory buildings. Visited by learned travelers from all over Europe and surrounded by scholars, Brahe and his assistants managed to collect observations and significantly corrected nearly most known astronomical records.
4. He Added a Comprehensive Study Of The Solar System.
To his earlier observations, specifically his evidence that the nova of 1572 was a star, he added a comprehensive study of the solar system, which included a proof that the orbit of the 1577 comet lies beyond the Moon. Then, he proposed a modified Copernican system where the planets were revolving around the Sun, which in turn was moving around a stationary Earth. Such accomplishment of Brahe, using only his practical talents and simple instruments, has remained one of the outstanding accomplishments of the Renaissance.
5. He Was Also An Artist And Craftsman.
Aside from his love for astronomy, Brahe was also into arts and craft, where everything he surround himself with and undertook had to be beautiful and innovative. He created a printing shop to produce and bind his manuscripts, as well as imported Augsburg craftsmen to create the finest astronomical instruments. He also invented a pressure system that provided the uncommon convenience of sanitary lavatory facilities during his time.
When Brahe died in 1601, he left some of his observational data to Johannes Kepler, his assistant and pupil in his final years, which then laid the foundation for Sir Isaac Newton’s work.