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The Observations of - sufficiently precise to demonstrate...

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The Observations of Tycho Brahe As we have noted, modern astronomy is built on the interplay between quantitative observations and testable theories that attempt to account for those observations in a logical and mathematical way. A crucial ingredient in the Copernican revolution was the acquisition of more precise data on the motions of objects on the celestial sphere. Precise Observations before the Invention of the Telescope A Danish nobleman, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), made important contributions by devising the most precise instruments available before the invention of the telescope for observing the heavens. Brahe made his observations from Uraniborg , on an island in the sound between Denmark and Sweden called Hveen. The instruments of Brahe allowed him to determine more precisely than had been possible the detailed motions of the planets. In particular, Brahe compiled extensive data on the planet Mars, which would later prove crucial to Kepler in his formulation of the laws of planetary motion because it would be
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Unformatted text preview: sufficiently precise to demonstrate that the orbit of Mars was not a circle but an ellipse. The Life and Times of Tycho Brahe Brahe was by all accounts an extremely colorful character. He allegedly challenged a fellow student to a duel with swords in a dispute over who was the better mathematician. Brahe's nose was partially cut off, and he was said to wear a gold and silver replacement upon which he would continually rub oil. He fell out of favor when a new King came to power in 1588, and moved to Prague shortly thereafter. This is of great historical significance because this move would eventually make Brahe's data available to Kepler, who went to Prague also to become Brahe's assistant. Brahe is thought to have died when he contracted a urinary infection while attending a banquet hosted by a baron in Prague in which he drank extensively but felt that etiquette prevented him from leaving the table to relieve himself before the host left....
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