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Tycho Brahe & His Metal Nose

July 28
23:45 2011

From the Galileo Project:

In 1572 Tycho observed the new star in Cassiopeia and published a brief tract about it the following year. In 1574 he gave a course of lectures on astronomy at the University of Copenhagen. He was now convinced that the improvement of astronomy hinged on accurate observations. After another tour of Germany, where he visited astronomers, Tycho accepted an offer from the King Frederick II to fund an observatory. He was given the little island of Hven in the Sont near Copenhagen, and there he built his observatory, Uraniburg, which became the finest observatory in Europe.

 While Tycho was a student at Wittenburg (hey, maybe he knew Hamlet) he got into a duel with another student and lost part of his nose. After that, Tycho wore a metal insert shaped like a nose over the missing part.

More about Tycho’s magnificence:

Tycho Brahe’s contributions to astronomy were enormous. He not only designed and built instruments, he also calibrated them and checked their accuracy periodically. He thus revolutionized astronomical instrumentation. He also changed observational practice profoundly. Whereas earlier astronomers had been content to observe the positions of planets and the Moon at certain important points of their orbits (e.g.,oppositionquadrature, station), Tycho and his cast of assistants observed these bodies throughout their orbits. 

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