Astronomiae instauratae mechanica [Instruments for the Restoration of Astronomy]. Noribergae: apud L. Hvlsivm, 1602. 107 unnumbered pages, illustrations, map, plans.

See note on typography for guidance with reading and transcription.

Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was born December 14, 1546 in Knudstrup, Scania, Denmark. His father was a high-level official of the castle of Helsingborg. Tycho was abducted by a wealthy, childless uncle at a young age, and stayed with the uncle, who raised him.

In 1562 he began the study of law at the University of Copenhagen, but a total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 1560 had already established in him an interest in astronomy. His university study as a result alternated between daytime law lectures and nighttime astronomical observations, coupled with exposure to the only astronomical text available to him, Ptolemy's Almagest.

In 1563 he made his first recorded observation, that of a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. He found that the Copernican tables were several days off in predicting this event, and this motivated him to making more accurate observations in order to correct the tables.

After his studies Brahe traveled widely, acquiring astronomical instruments along the way. After inheriting the estates of his father and uncle, Brahe settled in Scania in 1571 and constructed a small observatory there. His discovery of a "new star" or nova in the constellation Casseopoeia in 1572 and his account of it in De nova stella (1573) established his European reputation as an astronomer.

In order to keep him in Denmark, the king gave Brahe an island, as well financial support for the observatory Brahe set up there, which he called Uraniborg. There he and his assistants corrected nearly all the astronomical tables in existence.

After the king's death in 1588, Brahe lost his financial support. Eventually, through a circuitous route, he wound up in Prague, under the sponsorship of the Emperor. He died there on October 24, 1601. The work used in this course, Astronomiae instauratae mechanica, published a year after his death, represents his achievements as a maker of precision astronomical instruments, which enabled the most accurate measurements before the invention of the telescope.

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