Friday, October 16, 2015

The exasperation of Tycho Brahe

O crassa ingenia.
O caecos coeli spectatores.         

Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)
Danish astronomer

Brahe made a splash when he published De nova stella in 1573, challenging the Aristotelian doctrine of a perfected, unchanging celestial sphere.

Living before the advent of practical telescopes, the gentleman-scientist was the last of the principal "naked eye" astronomers who worked without telescopes.

He was in the van of astronomer-scientists who gradually debunked the Ptolemaic concept of the cosmos as an Earth-centric (geocentric) system. Brahe proposed a cosmos with the sun and the moon orbiting the Earth, and the other planets orbiting the sun, with stars in the classical "fixed spheres."

The Copernican cosmological system was at odds with Brahe's geo-heliocentric system, and Kepler later proposed a more correct orbital system based substantially on Brahe's astoundingly detailed and (for his time) spectacularly accurate astronomical observations.

Brahe wasn't in the mainstream, and he was not shy about promoting his own system.

Hence, his less-than-tactful characterization of others with divergent views:

O crassa ingenia.
O caecos coeli spectatores.         
O, thick wits.
O, blind watchers of the sky.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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