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Tyge Ottesen Brahe was born in Knudstrup in southern Sweden on December 14, 1546. He studied law and philosophy first at the university of Copenhagen when he was just thirteen years old. It was during this time that Brahe witnessed a partial solar eclipse, which first fueled his curiosity for the stars, due to the accuracy of the prediction for the date of the partial eclipse. When Brahe turned sixteen he was sent to the university of Leipzig, Germany to further his law education. When Brahe turned seventeen he observed a special event – Jupiter and Saturn passed very near to one another. It was just after this event that Brahe noticed that the Alfonsine tables were off by a month in predicting this event, and the Copernicus tables were off by several days. Brahe then decided two things: better tables could be made by observations over longer period of time and that he would be the one to make these observations and later construct the tables showing his observations.
Tycho Brahe’s most notable achievement was the accomplishment of an exact basis for astronomic research. Brahe was known as “the father of the modern art of observation” for his work on several new instruments for astronomy and improving many old ones. Among other things, he introduced a new measurement scale and improved instruments for taking sightings. Another of his accomplishments was his observations of the 1572 Supernova and the Comet in 1577. In his observations he demonstrated that the universe is constantly changing and that comets may pass between the planets.
In honor of his contributions to Astronomy, a crater on the moon is named Tycho, and a crater on Mars is named Tycho Brahe.
- Encarta article
- Wikipedia article
- Well-researched personal webpage devoted to Brahe
- Presentation on Brahe by a student in the UVa Physics department