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TYCHO OTTESEN BRAHE
TYCHO OTTESEN BRAHE
Scania, Denmark (1546 - 1601)
Tycho Brahe was a Danish nobleman famed for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. Hailing from Scania, then part of Denmark, now part of modern-day Sweden, Brahe was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer and alchemist.
 

Enjoy these insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.

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Owen Gingerich

Copernicus and Ptolemaic geometry
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Most of the data that Copernicus used came from Ptolemy in ancient times from the second century A.D. But he wanted to check this up with current planetary data.

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Owen Gingerich

Copernicus' mathematical model
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Copernicusí system had no observational proof for the motion of the Earth. That was an idea in the mindís eye. A theory pleasing to the mind. But it had a coherence that would ultimately be very persuasive.

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Owen Gingerich

Copernicusí book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

The printing of Copernicusí de Revolutions took many months and I think that the original first pages printed were sent to him and then the next group and so on that he could actually proofread the sections of the book as they came to him. The last part to be printed as the so-called front-matter ó the title page ó this apology anonymously put in by the Lutheran theologian Andreas Oseander, the dedication to the pope and so on must have been the last part that Copernicus finally received on his death bed. Just that section. Most of the book he had already seen.

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Owen Gingerich

Copernicus' book as a recipe book
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Most astronomers in the generations immediately following 1543 when Copernicus published his book, thought of the book as a recipe book.

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Owen Gingerich

Galileo
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Galileo said a lot of people were having trouble with the Copernican system because if the Earth is whizzing around the Sun, how can it keep the Moon in tow?

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Owen Gingerich

The geocentric versus heliocentric model
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

I think intuitively, most people believe in a very solid, fixed earth and it takes some forcing of the imagination to conceive of it as spinning and going around the Sun. So intellectually, we know that itís going around the Sun. In our gut feeling, we know its going around the Sun. In our gut feeling, we believe it's solidly fixed.

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Owen Gingerich

Harvard women and the invention of photographic plates
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

In the process of looking at these plates, some of the astute women like Henrietta Levitt noticed that the stars were not always of the same brightness; that is, certain individual ones. She became a great discoverer of these so called variable stars.

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Owen Gingerich

William and Caroline Herschel
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

As a result, he started looking very, very carefully at individual stars because double stars offered a possibility of finding the parallax, the motion of the stars due to the Earthís own motion.

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Owen Gingerich

Kepler and Galileo prove Copernicus right
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

It wasnít until a few generations later, until Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei began to argue for the physical reality of the heliocentric system and they began to put forward a variety of arguments that made the whole thing seem much more intellectually respectable to think about and to believe in. And they are the two giants who really brought about the acceptance of the heliocentric theory; but this is decades after Copernicus had published his book.

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Owen Gingerich

Johannes Kepler
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Kepler was truly a remarkable scientist because, unlike his contemporaries who thought astronomy was handled strictly by geometry, he wanted to do it with physics. He wanted to have a physical reason for what was happening.

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