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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.
 

Disfrute estos perspicaces y educacionales videoclips obtenidos de más de 70 horas de entrevistas con las más notables figuras en astronomía tomadas durante la filmación del documental 400 Años del Telescopio.

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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

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

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Owen Gingerich

Copernicus’ book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

The printing of Copernicus’ 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 — the title page — 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 it’s 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 Earth’s own motion.

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Owen Gingerich

Kepler and Galileo prove Copernicus right
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

It wasn’t 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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Owen Gingerich

Literal interpretations of creation
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Literalistic interpretation will cause you to run into trouble. This was a big issue at the time of Galileo, for example. After all, Psalm 104 says the Lord God laid the foundation of the Earth that it not be moved forever. Many of the Catholic theologians said that ruled out the moving of the Earth in the Copernican system.

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Owen Gingerich

A pre-Copernican model of the universe
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

When Copernicus gave the idea that it was the Sun, and not the Earth that was at the middle, that the earth was racing around the sun every year and spinning on its axis, it seemed the height of ridiculousness.

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Owen Gingerich

Ptolemy and King Alfonso
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

There’s a wonderful story about King Alfonso in the 13th century looking over the shoulders of his astronomers who were making tables for the prediction of planets. King Alfonso is supposed to have said if he had been around at creation, he could have given the good Lord some hints, the idea being that the system seemed so complicated.

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Owen Gingerich

Ptolemy's view of the cosmos
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Ptolemy’s view of the cosmos was to use circles. After all, circles are wonderful for celestial motions because they go on, round and round forever. No stopping and starting. A circle is the obvious way to try to get that kind of motion, and he was very clever in how he combined the circles.

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Owen Gingerich

Science is cosmic modeling
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

Science is modeling the universe. It is a way of making a kind of map that you can then use to predict the future, the future of motion of things, let’s say. Or, if you’re talking about gravity, predict how a spacecraft can go to Saturn.

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Owen Gingerich

Stonehenge
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

You don’t discover the Stonehenge; you build Stonehenge to commemorate the discovery.

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Owen Gingerich

Technological change
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

The biggest technological change is one, the replacement of the photographic plate by electronic detectors because the photographic emulsion before it’s developed is white. It’s a wonderful reflector.

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Owen Gingerich

The Renaissance: religion and science
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

You have to understand that the Renaissance was a time of many new things; the exploration of the New World, the discovery of printing, religious upheaval. In many ways there was a newness in looking at the universe and Galileo’s telescope observations were part of that. It brought a fresh perspective. It made people much more open to accepting a cosmos that was different from what had been grown up during the Middle Ages.

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Owen Gingerich

Why I became an astronomer
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

And have been one ever since. I was an undergraduate in a small college in Indiana and I came out here during the summers and worked here at the observatory. When I applied to graduate school, the only place I applied to was Harvard, which by current standards would be insane.

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Richard Green

Techniques in adaptive optics
Richard Green - Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)

I think that the techniques of adaptive optics are already of interest for improving individuals’ vision because you can easily imagine compensating for the blur on a hot day.

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Richard Green

Dark energy and dark matter
Richard Green - Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)

The best interpretation of the suite of data that we have in hand right now is that the stuff of which this telescope is made, of which you and I are made, ordinary atoms that we learned about in high school chemistry class comprises about four percent of the total matter and energy density of the universe that we live in.

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Richard Green

Eyes versus telescopes
Richard Green - Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)

Our eyeballs allow us to reconstruct the depth of the scene that we are seeing because they are spaced far enough apart that they give us a third dimensional view. We’re not, these aren’t nearly far enough apart to be interesting at the distance of astronomical objects.

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Richard Green

The first time I looked through a telescope
Richard Green - Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)

But the thrill of the first time I went when I entered graduate school and got to ride in the cage at the focus underneath the five-meter at Palomar, which was the world’s largest telescope, and look in an eye-piece and see a galaxy that looked as beautiful as a photograph.

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Richard Green

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)
Richard Green - Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)

The GMT will be a telescope like this one but symmetric, filled in. So we have two eight meter dishes, these mirrors, and there’s about eight meters in between them.

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Richard Green

How the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) works
Richard Green - Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)

There’s lots to do and this telescope will work frequently in a mode where you use the two sides in parallel with identical or similar instruments to get twice as much information on the same field of view.

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