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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 11, 2004 15:11:18 GMT -6
Poor Tycho, with an incredible run of bad luck.
Tycho began observing again in Prague. He received support from Rudolph for <Kepler.html> and himself to compile a new set of astronomical tables based on Tycho's recorded observations over 38 years. These would be called the Rudolphine Tables as a tribute to their sponsor. However, Tycho died eleven days after dining at the palace of Peter Vok Ursinus Rozmberk as a result of adhering to the etiquette of the day and refusing to leave the dinner table before his host. <Kepler.html> describes his death (see for example ):-
Holding his urine longer than was his habit, Brahe remained seated. Although he drank a little overgenerously and experienced pressure on his bladder, he felt less concerned for his state of health than for etiquette. By the time he returned home he could not urinate any more. Finally, with the most excruciating pain, he barely passed some urine, but yet it was blocked. Uninterrupted insomnia followed; intestinal fever; and little by little delirium. ... During his last night, through the delirium in which everything was very pleasant, like a composer creating a song, Brahe these words over and over again: "Let me not seem to have lived in vain."
Got his nose sliced off, had to wear a prosthetic, and then died from holding it in. If that's what it takes to get a crater named after you, I refuse the honor.
He was the finest observational astronomer of the pre-telescopic era. His measuring equipment was the equivalent of the great professional observatories of today.
Had he lived longer, and perhaps been a little less nuts he might well have come to the same conclusion that his apprentice, Johann Kepler eventually did in the face of Tycho's data: that the planets (including Earth) move about the sun in elliptical orbits.