Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sexy Astronomers of History [No. 5]

Collect 'em all!

Tycho Ottesen Brahe
(Dec 14, 1546 – Oct 24, 1601)
Birthplace:  Scania, Denmark (modern-day Sweden)
Culture-shaping contribution:  A Danish nobelmen with a gift for math, Brahe shattered the idea of a fixed celestial realm. By building on the work of Copernicus and Ptolemy, and making accurate observations without a telescope, Brahe proved that comets, supernovae were not atmospheric disturbances, but astronomical phenomena happening well beyond the Earth and moon's orbits.
Fun fact:  At a wedding dance on December 19, 1566, Brahe argued with a cousin regarding a math problem (!) -- it escalated into a duel during which Brahe's nose was cut off. For the remainder of his life, he wore a false nose, likely made of copper, glued to his face. It is unknown if Brahe ever got busy in a Burger King bathroom.
Bonus fun fact:  Brahe also had a pet moose that met a tragic end. Ah, the pasttimes of the wealthy.