Monday, December 14, 2009


Number 116 in our hall of heroes is the fellow above. His name is Tycho Brahe, and he was born this day 1546 in Svalov, Denmark. Well at the time it belonged to Denmark, but today is a part of Sweden, but I was always taught to refer to him as a Dane, so Danish he shall be. His claim to hero status rest upon him being one of the best, if not the best, observational astronomers in human history. It seems that young Tycho was "kidnapped" (sort of) by a rich uncle who took him away from his parents in the hopes of making him a scholar. Well, good or bad the uncle succeeded far beyond his wildest expectations. He eventually made it to the University of Copenhagen were he was to study law. I have the firm believe that everyone useless piece of mule shit goes to study law. If you can not do anything else, and are fairly useless to the family they ship you off to study "law." Luckily for the world, a solar eclipse took place while Brahe was at university, and he was impressed both by it, and by the fact that it was predicted. So he did what every frustrated law student would have done in his place, he chucked his law books and began to study astronomy. One of the coolest facts about our boy Tycho is that when he was just 20 years old he got into a bit of a set to with a fellow student, otherwise known as a duel (that happened to take place in the dark), as a result of this bit of hi jinks Brahe lost the bridge of his nose, and wore a fake nose for the rest of his life. It was said to be made of gold, and or silver, but there is evidence that he also wore a copper one as well. Either way, a metal nose did not stop him from looking up at the stars, and that is what he did. For almost 24 years Brahe, at his research institute Urianborg, would go out and take measurements of the stars and planets with the most accurate instruments available. It was these measurements that, after his death, his assistant, a fellow by the name of Kepler, would use to develop his own system of astronomical theory. Kepler himself admitted to taking advantage of Brahe's death by "usurping" his data, and using it for his own theories. For without all that data that Brahe religiously collected much of what we came to know about the heavens above would have been impossible to know. For, just taking the time, and meticulously recording what he saw, and where he saw it thus providing other astronomers the key to unlock the mysteries of the stars above, Tycho Brahe (December 14th, 1546- October 24th, 1601, at the age of 54), you are my hero of the day.

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