Brahe, Tycho

Brahe, Tycho
   Danish astronomer, known primarily for his fresh and highly accurate observations of the orbits of the planets. After study at Copenhagen and several German universities, he settled in an isolated castle belonging to his family and devoted himself to scientific work. His earliest major achievement was his careful tracking of a "new star" (a supernova) never previously observed. This object caused great excitement among astronomers; it was bright enough to be seen even by day and remained clearly visible for more than a year. His observations clearly established that it was beyond the moon, thus challenging the prevailing belief that the superlunary universe was perfect and unchanging. His book (1573) reporting these observations caught the attention of astronomers throughout Europe. Other observations by Brahe also challenged traditional astronomy, including his demonstration that the comet of 1577 did not follow the circular orbit required by current theory and cut across several planetary orbits. Brahe's observations also noted many discrepancies between the actual location of planets and their locations as predicted in current planetary tables.
   Although these discoveries confirmed the widespread uneasiness of 16th-century astronomers about traditional astronomy, Brahe found the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus too radical and devised an alternative theory (the "Tychonic system") that tried to account for his discoveries without removing the earth from the center of the universe. According to this theory, the other planets revolve about the sun rather than the earth, but the sun and planets still revolve about the earth. Brahe was the last major astronomer to reject the Copernican system, and also the last to function without the assistance of the telescope. Brahe also had elaborate apparatus for alchemical experiments, but little is known about this work. He was a painstaking mathematician, carrying out intricate calculations by lengthy arithmetical procedures since his generation still lacked the mathematical discoveries (logarithms, for example) made in the following century. Because he was compiling fresh experimental data unmatched by any contemporary, the brilliant German mathematician Johannes Kepler accepted his invitation to join him in Denmark and entered his service again when Brahe moved to the court of the Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. Although Kepler disagreed with Brahe's rejection of Copernican astronomy, Brahe bequeathed all of his papers to him when he died in 1601, thus putting into the younger man's hands the vast body of fresh experimental data that became one of the foundations of his books supporting the Copernican hypothesis.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • BRAHE Tycho — stirpe nobili natus, A. C. 1546. Daniâ, natali solô, relictâ, in Germaniam abiit, ibique Mathematicis Artibus, Astronomiae praesertim, eô successu se dedit totum, ut brevi Astronomorum princeps evaserit. Reversus in patriam sibi rusticam puellam… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Brahe,Tycho — Brahe (brä, bräʹhē, bräʹə), Tycho. 1546 1601. Danish astronomer whose accurate astronomical observations formed the basis for Johannes Kepler s laws of planetary motion. * * * …   Universalium

  • Brahe, Tycho — 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… …   Universalium

  • BRAHE, Tycho — (1546 1601) The founder of modern observational astronomy, Tycho Brahe led the tran­sition from ancient to modern astronomy that occurred after the introduction of Nicolaus Copernicus s* heliocentric model of the universe. His reputation as the… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Brahe , Tycho — (1546–1601) Danish astronomer Tycho, whose father Otto was the governor of Helsingborg castle, was born in Knudstrup, Denmark. Kidnapped by and brought up by his uncle Jörgen, an admiral in the Danish navy, he was sent to Leipzig University in… …   Scientists

  • Brahe, Tycho — ► (1546 1601) Astrónomo danés. Construyó un gran observatorio astronómico en la isla de Hveen, en el Báltico, importante centro científico. Su importancia radica en la sistematización de las mediciones astronómicas realizadas hasta entonces. * *… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BRAHÉ, TYCHO —    a Swedish astronomer, of noble birth; spent his life in the study of the stars; discovered a new star in Cassiopeia; had an observatory provided for him on an island in the Sound by the king, where he made observations for 20 years; he was, on …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • BRAHE, Tycho — (1546 1601)    Danish astronomer noted for his work in confirming the COPERNICAN view of the UNIVERSE which he subsequently modified …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Brahe Tycho — n. (1546 1601) Danish astronomer …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Brahe, Tycho — (1546 AD 1601 AD)    This Danish astronomer made the most accurate observations of the positions of celestial objects to date, including our solar system and over 700 stars. His data was the most accurate until the invention of the telescope in… …   The writer's dictionary of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mythology

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