Tycho Brahe Criticism - Essay

J. L. E. Dreyer (essay date 1890)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tycho's Book on the Comet of 1577 and His System of the World," in Tycho Brahe: A Picture of Scientific Life and Work in the Sixteenth Century, Dover Publications, Inc., 1963, pp. 158-85.

[In the following excerpt, originally published in 1890, Dreyer assesses Brahe 's De mundi—a monograph on the comet of 1577, which contains Brahe's elaboration of his planetary system. Dreyer additionally comments on the state of astronomy in the sixteenth century and the overall significance of Brahe's theories.]

The year 1588 is one of great importance in the life of Tycho Brahe, not only because his firm friend and benefactor died in that year, but also...

(The entire section is 9421 words.)

Robert S. Ball (essay date 1895)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tycho Brahe," in Great Astronomers, Isbister and Company, Ltd., 1895, pp. 44-66.

[In the following essay, Ball recounts the life of Brahe, noting his character, technical innovations, and impact on the field of astronomy.]

The most picturesque figure in the history of astronomy is undoubtedly that of the famous old Danish astronomer whose name stands at the head of this chapter. Tycho Brahe was alike notable for his astronomical genius and for the extraordinary vehemence of a character which was by no means perfect. His romantic career as a philosopher, and his taste for splendour as a Danish noble, his ardent friendships and his furious quarrels, make him an...

(The entire section is 4293 words.)

Victor E. Thoren (essay date 1967)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "An Early Instance of Deductive Discovery: Tycho Brahe's Lunar Theory," in Isis, Vol. 58, Pt. 1, No. 191, Spring, 1967, pp. 19-36.

[In the following excerpt, Thoren probes the gradual, deductive creation of Brahe's theory of the moon.]

Of all the projects undertaken by Tycho Brahe in his redintegration of astronomy, his researches on the lunar theory proved far the most fruitful for him. As a result of his perseverance in the study of the moon's motion, he succeeded in adding four new inequalities to the theory that was already the most complicated of the orbital representations, thereby reducing its discrepancies by a factor of about five. It is with...

(The entire section is 6800 words.)

J. R. Christianson (essay date 1979)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tycho Brahe's German Treatise on the Comet of 1577: A Study in Science and Politics," in Isis, Vol. 70, No. 251, March, 1979, pp. 110-40.

[In the following excerpt, Christianson details the political, religious, and cosmological implications of Brahe's publication of his vernacular treatise on the comet of 1577.]


Tycho Brahe was born into a family with strong political traditions. His father was governor of Aalborg castle and fief, then of the key stronghold of Helsingborg on the Sound, and he ended his days as a Councillor of the Realm. Both of Tycho's grandfathers, all four of his great-grandfathers, and many of his more distant...

(The entire section is 11784 words.)

Victor E. Thoren (essay date 1979)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "The Comet of 1577 and Tycho Brahe's System of the World," in Archives internationales d'histoire des sciences, Vol. 29, No. 104, June-December, 1979, pp. 53-67.

[In the following excerpt, Thoren explores the development of Brahe's cosmological system after his observance of the comet of 1577 until his publication of De mundi in 1588.]

Although Tycho's system of the world has traditionally been associated with the comet of 1577, the connection between them has been treated by most commentators as essentially circumstantial: the two have been discussed in the same chapter because Tycho published his accounts of them in the same book, his De mundi...

(The entire section is 6725 words.)

Edward Rosen (essay date 1981)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "In Defense of Tycho Brahe," in Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Vol. 24, 1981, pp. 257-65.

[In the following essay, Rosen argues that Brahe was not the annotator of the Prague copy of Nicolaus Copernicus's De revolutionibus, as some have contended.]

Nicholas Copernicus ' On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, in Six Books (Basel Edition) with Annotations Written by the Hand of Tycho Brahe1 was published in facsimile (Prague, 1971), as volume XVI, Editio cimelia Bohemica (cited hereafter as "Cimelia"). On Cimelia's title page an unidentified hand wrote: "Property of the Imperial College of the Society of Jesus...

(The entire section is 3435 words.)

Edward Rosen (essay date 1986)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Brahe's Publication of His Hypothesis" and "Brahe's Discovery of Ursus's Plagiarism," in Three Imperial Mathematicians: Kepler Trapped between Tycho Brahe and Ursus, Abaris Books, Inc., 1986, pp. 17-44.

[In the following excerpt, Rosen describes the publication, and the possible plagiarizing, of Brahe 's celestial system in 1588.]

I. Brahe 's Publication of His Hypothesis

Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was one of the greatest observational astronomers of all time. Some people think he was the greatest. But his innovation and skill in observing were not ends in themselves. Their ultimate purpose was to reveal the hidden structure of the...

(The entire section is 4349 words.)

William J. McPeak (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tycho Brahe Lights Up the Universe," in Astronomy, Vol. 18, No. 12, December, 1990, pp. 28-35.

[In the following essay, McPeak investigates Brahe's scientific accomplishments at Uraniborg and Stjerneborg, detailing the wide variety of astronomical equipment he designed for his two island observatories.]

Tycho Brahe is a forgotten man. When we think of great astronomers of the past, Nicholas Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei come to mind quickly. But what about the Dane, Tycho Brahe? Most amateur astronomers have a hard time naming his greatest accomplishments.

Despite this, Tycho was one of the all-time greats in science. He...

(The entire section is 2911 words.)

Victor E. Thoren (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "The Tychonic System of the World," in The Lord of Uraniborg: A Biography of Tycho Brahe, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 236-64.

[In the following excerpt, Thoren examines the evolution of Brahe's planetary system and the slow publication of the astronomer's De mundi. Thoren concludes that the observations in Brahe's monograph were insufficient in themselves to overthrow the Aristotelian cosmology of solid celestial spheres, though they were necessary to set this process into motion.]

At the time [Paul] Wittich came to Hven [in 1580], Tycho had probably not thought about planetary theory or cosmology since his deliberations on the comet [of 1577]....

(The entire section is 9015 words.)

Peter Zeeberg (essay date 1994)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Alchemy, Astrology, and Ovid—A Love Poem by Tycho Brahe," in Acta Conventus Neo-Latini: Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, edited by Rhoda Schnur, et al., Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, No. 120, 1994, pp. 997-1007.

[In the following essay, Zeeberg studies Brahe's Latin poem Urania Titani as a work that blends mythic astrology, the pseudoscience of alchemy, and the literary influence of Ovid.]

The famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was a scientist and a nobleman.1 In the society of the day that was not a suitable combination. Indeed he was forced to make a choice...

(The entire section is 4576 words.)

E. C. Krupp (essay date 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Observing the Occasion," in Sky and Telescope, Vol. 92, No. 6, December, 1996, pp. 68-69.

[In the following essay, Krupp evaluates the legacy of Brahe's astronomical observations.]

Once you get past a sesquicentennial—the felicitously fabricated designation for a 150th anniversary—half-century acknowledgments are awkward and contrived commemorations. Masquerading as milestones, they are missing that zero in the tens place that tells you we really have something to celebrate. Ordinarily, then, I would have let this month's 450th anniversary of the birth of that great Dane Tycho Brahe—on December 14th—pass without cake and candle. But I was too young in...

(The entire section is 1323 words.)