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Mathematical Treasure: Tycho Brahe’s Astronomy

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

The famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe died in 1601 before many of his finding became widely known. After his death, his assistant, Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), edited and published Brahe’s findings in two volumes. The first volume, Astronomiae instauratae progymnasmata, appeared in 1602.

Page 20 contains a geometric demonstration of heavenly sightings.

Page 23 supplied a table of data concerning the planet Mars. It was from such data that Kepler developed his theories on planetary motion.

The second volume of this work, De mundi aetherei recentioribus phaenomenis, had appeared in 1588 and was reprinted in 1603. The images below are from the 1603 edition.

The Sun’s behavior is explained with a diagram.

The images above were supplied through the cooperation of the United States Library of Congress.

For images from Brahe's book Astronomiae instauratae mechanica, see Tycho Brahe's astronomical instruments in Convergence.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Tycho Brahe’s Astronomy," Convergence (June 2017)