Tycho and the Role of Systematic Observation I. The Reception of the Copernican Theory. A. Early Reaction of the Churches



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LECTURE.
Tycho and the Role of Systematic Observation

I. The Reception of the Copernican Theory.

A. Early Reaction of the Churches.

B. The Melanchthon Circle.

II. Tycho Brahe.

A. Early Life and Education.

B. Program of Systematic Observation.

III. The Tychonic Compromise.

A. The Transition to a Geo-heliocentric Scheme.

B. Advantages & Disadvantages of the Tychonic System.
[References: Berry 1961; Brackenridge 1985; Cohen 1985a; Dijksterhuis 1961; Dreyer 1953; Gingerich 1975a; Koyré 1964; Koyré 1973; Oberman 1975; Pannekoek 1961; Rosen 1971].
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Leture: Tycho and the Role of Systematic Observation.

I. The Reception of the Copernican Theory.

AS I MENTIONED LAST TIME, COPERNICUS' PYTHAGOREAN SCRUPLES CAUSED HIS TO HESTITATE FOR NEARLY THIRTY YEARS BEFORE HE WAS FINALLY PERSUADED TO PUBLISH HIS WORK, "ON THE REVOLUTION OF HEAVENLY SPHERES".

THE PRIMARY FORCE DRIVING HIM TO PUBLICATION WAS A YOUNG LUTHERAN SCHOLAR FROM THE LUTHERAN UNVERSITY IN WITTENBERG.

HIS NAME WAS GEORG JOACHIM RHETICUS (1514-1576), AND WE WILL RETURN TO HIM IN A MOMENT.

COPERNICUS' WORK APPEARED IN 1543 AND COPERNICUS HIMSELF DIEDWITHIN A FEW OWEEKS AFTER THE PUBLICATION OF "DE REVOLUTIONIBUS", AND WE ARE LEFT PWITH THE POIGNANT IMAGE OF COPERNICUS REVIEWING THE FIRST PRINTED ECOPY ON HIS DEATHBED -- A POETIC IMAGE THAT, FOR ONCE, CORRESPONDS TO HISTORICAL FACT.

OF THE APPROXIMATELY 500 COPIES OF THE "DE REV" PUBLISHED IN THEFIRST EDITION, ROUGHLY 250 TO 300 HAVE SURVIVED UNTIL TODAY.

HOW WAS THIS REVOLUTIONARY BOOK ON HEAVENLY REVOLUTIONS RECEIVED BY CONTEMPORARIES?.

IN GENERAL THE RECEPTION WAS COOL; FEW READ IT AND FEWER STILLUNDERSTOOD IT.

IT WAS, AFTER AL, A HIGHLY TECHNICAL TREATISE ON PLANETARY THEORY; FEW SCHOLARS IN EUROPE HAD THE MATHEMATICAL ABILITY TOCOMPREHEND ITS ARGUMENTS, AND FEW OF THOSE WHO COULD WERE INCLINED TO PLOW THROUGH SEVERAL HUNDRED PAGES OF CLOSELY REASONED GEOMTERICAL ARGUMENT.

IT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION TO SAY THAT BETWEEN THE TIME OF ITS PUBLICATION IN 1543 AND 1600 IT WAS LARGELY IGNORED.

ACCORDING TO ONE ESTIMATE, DURING THAT PERIOD, PERHAPS NO MORE THAN 30 OR 40 PEOPLE READ AND UNDERSTOOD IT.

IF COPERNICUS IS TO BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR STARTING THE REVOLUTION, THEN WE MUST INSIST THAT IT WAS A REVOLUTION WITH VERY FEW IN ATTENDANCE.


A. The Early Reaction of the Churches.

WHAT WERE THE REACTIONS OF THE PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC CHURCHES TO COPERNICUS?.

DID THEOLOGIANS REACT MORE VOCALLY THAN ASTRONOMERS TO COPERNICUS' ATTEMPT TO PUT THE EARTH IN MOTION?.

THERE ARE, OF COURSE, SEVERAL PASSAGES IN THE BIBLE THAT STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT IT IS THE SUN THE MOVES AROUND THE EARTHAND THAT THE EARTH IS AT REST.

AND THE DECADES AFTER COPERNICUS' DEATH WERE AMONG THE MOSTHEATED OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION.

I MENTIONED LAST TIME THAT BEFORE 1543 TWO POPE'S, A CARDINAL, AND A BISHOP HAD ALL STRONGLY ENCOURAGED COPERNICUS TO PUBLISH.

BUT WHAT WAS THE GENERAL REACTION OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS AFTER THE PUBLICATION OF "DE REV"?.

THE REACTOIN WAS ALMOST IMPERCEPTIBLE: VERY FEW CHURCH OFFICIALS EXPRESSED ANY OPINION WHATSOEVER.

AND THOSE WHO DID WERE OFTEN THOSE WHO KNEW COPERNICUS PERSONALLY AND WERE SYMPATHETIC TO HIS IDEAS.

BUT THE NUMBER WAS SMALL.

WHAT ABOUT THE REACTION OF PROTESTANT THEOLOGIANS?.

THERE IS, OF COURSE, THE FAMOUS, SCORNFUL PRONOUNCEMENT FROMLUTHER HIMSELF IN THE EARLY 1530S.

DURING ONE OF HIS FAMOUS 'TISCHREDE' OR 'TABLE TALKS,' LUTHER, AFTER DESCRIBING HOW 'AN ASTROLOGER' THINKS THAT THE EARTH ANDEVERYTHING ON IT IS WHIRLING ABOUT THE SUN, SAID, "THE FOOL WANTS TO OVERTURN THE ENTIRE ART OF ASTRONOMY. BUT HE WHO KNOWS THE HOLY SCRIPTURE KNOWS THAT, JOSHUA MADE THE SUN STAND STILL AND NOT THE EARTH".

LUTHER HERE IS REFERRING TO A PASSAGE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT (JOSHUA 10.13) IN WHICH JOSHUA, ENGAGED IN FIERCE BATTLE WITH AN ENEMY HORDE, FINDS THE DAY SLIPPING AWAY ALL TO QUICKLY.

SO HE ASKS GOD TO STOP THE SUN IN ORDER TO HAVE ENOUGH TIME TOFINISH SLAUGHTERING THE OPPOSING ARMY.

GOD OBLIGES, AND JOSHUA COMPLETES HIS LONG DAY'S WORK.

AT ROUGHLY THE SAME TIME IN GENEVA JOHN CALVIN ALLEGEDLY OBSERVED, WITH LESS SARCASM BUT WITH EQUAL FORCE, "WHO WILL VENTURE TO PLACE THE AUTHORITY OF COPERNICUS ABOVE THAT OF THEHOLY SPIRIT?".

I SHOULD POINT OUT THAT CALVIN'S STATEMENT HAS NOT BEEN FULLY AUTHENTICATED, AND THAT LUTHER'S "TABLE TALKS" WERE PUBLISHED ONLY MUCH LATER.

THUS IT IS HARD TO GAUGE THE AFFECTED OF THESE NEGATIVE BUT RELATIVELY OBSCURE JUDGEMENTS FROM THE GREAT LEADERS OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION.

WHAT DID "RANK AND FILE" THEOLOGIANS THINK ABOUT COPERNICUS?.

ONE STUDY BY A POLISH SCHOLAR EXAMINES TWENTY-ONE GERMAN THEOLOGIANS, BOTH PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC, WHO EXPRESSED AN OPINION IN WRITING, IN THE PERIOD 1543 TO 1600, ABOUT THE AGREEMENTOR DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE BIBLE AND COPERNICUS.

SHE FOUND THAT ONLY THREE EXPRESSED AN OVERTLY POSITIVE VIEW OF HELIOCENTRISM, AND TWO OF THOSE THREE WERE ACTUALLY PRACTICING ASTRONOMERS WITH A BACKGROUND IN THEOLOGY: JOHANNES KEPLER AND CHRISTOPHER ROTHMANN.

SHE ALSO FOUND THAT THE MINOR DIFFERENCES IN THE NEGATIVE POSITIONS THEOLOGIANS TOOK ON COPERNICUS DID NOT REST ON THEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE SO MUCH AS ON HOW THEY UNDERSTOOD THE COPERNICAN THEORY -- THAT IS, AS A THEORY OF PHYSICAL REALITYOR MERELY AS A MATHEMATICAL WORKING HYPOTHESIS.

TEN OF THE TWENTY-ONE TOOK THE VIEW THAT COPERNICUS MEANT HISTHEORY TO BE A DESCRIPTION OF REALITY --- AND THEY REJECTED HIM BECAUSE HIS HELIOCENTRISM CONTRADICTED THE BIBLE.

ANOTHER EIGHT THOUGHT THAT COPERNICUS ONLY MEANT HIS THEORYAS A USEFUL CALCULATIONAL DEVISE--AND NOT A DESCRIPTION OF PHYSICALLY REALITY.

HOWEVER, THESE EIGHT THEOLOGIANS ALSO REJECTED THE THEORY SINCE IT CONTRADICTED THE BIBLE.

THUS IT WOULD SEEM THAT LUTHER'S SARCASTIC OPINION EXPRESSED OVER A BEER ONE EVENING IN WITTENBERG WAS NOT WITHOUT EFFECT.

AT LEAST A NUMBER OF PROTESTANT THEOLOGIANS FOLLOWED HIM IN HIS VIEW THAT THE COPERNICAN THEORY CONTRADICTED SCRIPTURE.

BUT IT WASN'T JUST THE PROTESTANT THEOLOGIANS WHO THOUGHT THIS WAY; THEIR OPINIONS WERE LARGELY SHARED BY CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS.

FOR BOTH PROTESTANTS AND CATHOLICS THE BIBLE WAS THE SUPREMEAUTHORITY.

AND STATEMENTS IN FLAT CONTRADICTION TO THE BIBLE WERE NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY BY EITHER SIDE.

THUS A KEY QUESTION, FOR THEOLOGIANS AS WELL AS ASTRONOMERS,WAS: DID COPERNICUS BELIEVE HIS THEORY WAS A DESCRIPTION OF PHYSICAL REALITY OR ONLY A USEFUL HYPOTHESIS?.


B. The Melanchthon Circle.

IN ORDER TO FOLLOW UP THIS QUESTION, WE NEED TO LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT THE RECEPTION OF COPERNICUS AMONG HIS EARLIEST AND STRONGEST SUPPORTERS.

AND THIS TAKES TO WITTENBERG, THE PREMIER LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY AND CITADEL OF LUTHER'S REFORMATION.

THE UNIVERSITY WAS FOUNDED IN 1502 AND SINCE THE 1520S HAD BECOME THE CENTER OF LUTHERAN INTELLECTUAL LIFE.

PHILIP MELANCHTHON (1497-1560) WAS PROFESSOR OF GREEK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WITTENBERG.

HE WAS ONE OF THE LEADERS OF THE LUTHERAN REFORMATION, AND WAS CONSIDERED LUTHER'S CHIEF LIEUTENANT.

HE WAS ALSO VERY INFLUENTIAL IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW PROTESTANT CURRICULUM IN LUTHERAN UNIVERSITIES; A ROLE THAT EARNED HIM THE TITLE OF 'PRECEPTOR OF GERMANY'.

AMONG THE MANY EDUCATIONAL REFORMS HE PIONEERED, ONE WAS AN INCREASED EMPHASIS ON MATHEMATICS AND ASTRONOMY.

HE HIMSELF WAS QUITE INTERESTED IN BOTH AND GATHERED ABOUT HIM A CRICLE OF BRIGHT, YOUNG, AND TALENTED MATHEMATICIANS -- A GROUP THAT ROBERT WESTMAN HAS CALLED 'THE MELANCHTHON CIRCLE'.

THIS CIRCLE CONSISTED OF GEORG JOACHIM RHETICUS, THE YOUNG MAN WHO WENT TO FROMBORK TO LEARN FIRST-HAND ABOUT THE HELIOCENTRIC SYSTEM; CASPAR PEUCER, MELANCHTHON'S SON-IN-LAW; AND ERASMUS REINHOLD, THE COMPILER OF THE PRUTENIC TABLES, THE FIRST SET OF ASTRONOMICAL TABLES BASED ON COPERNICUS' THEORY.

RHETICUS NOT ONLY ENCOURAGED COPERNICUS TO GO AHEAD AND PUBLISH HIS NEW THEORY, HE WAS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR IGNITING THEINTEREST OF OTHER LUTHERAN ASTRONOMERS IN COPERNICANISM.

IN THE LATE 1530S RHETICUS HAD HEARD OF COPERNICUS' 'COMMENTARIOLUS' AND BEGAN TO CORRESPOND WITH HIM.

HE VISITED COPERNICUS IN FROMBORK IN 1539 AND STAYED FOR TWO YEARS, MASTERING THE DETAILS OF THE NEW SYSTEM AND BECOMING INCREASINGLY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT IT.

IN 1540, RHETICUS PUBLISHED, WITH COPERNICUS' PERMISSION, THE "PRIMO NUNCIO," OR 'FIRST NARRATION' OR 'FIRST ACCOUNT' OF THE COPERNICAN THEORY.

THIS SERVED TO EXCITE THE INTERESTS OF THE OTHER YOUNG ASTRONOMERS AT WITTENBERG.

HOWEVER, UNLIKE COPERNICUS AND RHETICUS, THEY UNDERSTOOD THE SYSTEM NOT AS A TRUE DESCRIPTION OF PHYSICAL REALITY BUT AS A MATHEMATICAL DESCRIPTION, AS AN IMPROVED CALCULATING DEVICEFOR FINDING PLANETARY POSITIONS.

THEY WERE MUCH PLEASED WITH THE ELIMINATION OF THE EQUANT; FOR THEY TOO SAW IT AS AN ABOMINATION AND VIOLATION OF THE PREMISE OF UNIFORM CIRCULAR MOTION.

WHY SHOULD THIS FIRST GENERATION OF LUTHERAN ASTRONOMERS VIEW THE COPERNICAN THEORY ONLY AS A CALCULATIONAL DEVICE ANDNOT AS A TRUE DESCRIPTION OF REALITY?.

IN PART, THEY WERE LED TO THIS INTERPRETAITON BY THE ANONYMOUSPREFACE ATTACHED TO THE "DE REV".

THIS PREFACE WAS WRITTEN BY ANDREAS OSIANDER, A LUTHERAN REFORMER WHO, IN THE LAST STAGES OF PUBLICATION OF THE "DE REV", TOOK OVER FROM RHETICUS.

IN THIS PREFACE, OSIANDER ARGUES THAT THE READER SHOULD NOT BECRITICAL OF COPERNICUS' HELIOCENTRIC THEORY SINCE THIS IS ONLY AMATHEMATICAL HYPOTHESIS AND THUS IT SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN TO REPRESENT PHYSICAL REALITY.

THE PREFACE WAS INTENDED TO SHIELD COPERNICUS FROM UNDUE CRITICISM.

IT WAS INTENDED NOT AS SABBOTAGE OF WHAT COPERNCIUS REALLY WANTED TO SAY -- COPERNICUS DID IN FACT CONSIDER HIS THEORY TO BEA TRUE DESCRIPTION OF REALITY.

RATHER, IT WAS A GENUINE ATTEMPT TO 'SOFTEN' THE READER SO AS TOGIVE THE BOOK A MORE SYMPATHETIC AND GENTLER RECEPTION.

DESPITE THIS PLEA TO VIEW COPERNICANISM MERELY AS A MATHEMATICAL -- AND NOT A PHYSICAL -- HYPOTHESIS, THE SECOND GENERATION OF LUTHERAN ASTRONOMERS -- MOST OF WHOM WERE STUDENTS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE MELANCHTHON CIRCLE -- BEGAN TOSEE THE COSMOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE THEORY.

THEY GRADUALLY SAW THAT IT CLEARLY IMPINGED ON DISCIPLINES OUTSIDE MATHEMATICAL ASTRONOMY, ESPECIALLY COSMOLOGY AND THEOLOGY.

AND THEY BEGAN TO REALIZE THAT COPERNICUS HIMSELF INTENDED HIS THEORY TO BE A DESCRIPTION OF PHYSICAL REALITY.

THESE ASTRONOMERS -- JOHANNES PRAETORIUS, MICHAEL MAESTLIN, AND TYCHO BRAHE -- COULD NOT GIVE THEIR FULL SUPPORT TO COPERNICUS.

THE COSMOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF HELIOCENTRISM SEEMED TOO INCONSISTENT WITH OTHER WELL-ESTABLISHED AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE,MOST IMPORTANTLY WITH ARISTOTELIAN PHYSICS.

COPERNICUS WAS NOT REJECTED OUT OF BLIND PREJUDICE AND SUPERSTICION, BUT FOR GOOD, SOLID, HARD-HEADED REASONS.

THERE WAS ALSO A THIRD GENERATION OF LUTHERAN ASTRONOMERS, THE MOST IMPORTANT OF WHOM WAS JOHANNES KEPLER.

WE WILL CONSIDER HIS VIEWS ON COPERNICUS ON THURSDAY.


II. Tycho Brahe.

A. His Early Life and Education.

BEFORE WE GET AHEAD OF OURSELVES THOUGH, LETS TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE MOST IMPORTANT MEMBER OF THAT SECOND GENERATION OF LUTHERAN ASTRONOMERS, TYCHO BRAHE.

TYCHO WAS BORN INTO A WEALTHY AND IMPORTANT ARSITOCRTIC DANISH FAMILY.

HIS FATHER, OTTO BRAHE, HAD BEEN PRIVY COUNCILLOR TO THE KING OF DENMARK, HE HAD SERVED AS LIEUTENANT OF VARIOUS COUNTIES OFDENMARK, AND FINALLY AS GOVERNOR OF THE DANISH PROVINCE OF HELSINGBORG.

OTTO MARRIED BEATE BILLE, THE DAUGHTER OF A POWERFUL DANISH FAMILY, IN 1544.

TYGE, LATER LATINIZED TO TYCHO, WAS BORN IN 1546 AT THE FAMILY SEAT IN KNUDSTRUP, IN SKAANE DENMARK.

HE WAS THE SECOND CHILD AND ELDEST SON IN A FAMILY OF FIVE DAUGHTERS AND FIVE SONS, ONE OF WHOM WAS TYCHO'S STILL-BORN TWIN BROTHER.

BEFORE TYCHO'S BIRTH, TYCHO'S FATHER HAD PROMISED HIS BROTHER, JORGE, WHO WAS CHILDLESS, TO GIVE JORGE HIS FIRST-BORN SON, IF HE SHOULD HAVE ONE.

AFTER TYCHO CAME ALONG, HIS FATHER CHANGED HIS MIND AND REFUSED TO GIVE HIM UP TO JORGE.

NOT TO BE PUT OFF BY HIS BROTHER'S REFUSAL TO HONOR THE AGREEMENT, JORGE LITERALLY STOLE BABY TYCHO ONE NIGHT, TOOK HIM TO HIS OWN CASTLE, AND RAISED HIM AS HIS OWN SON.

OTTO, SOON WITH A SECOND SON, RELINQUISHED AND LET THE ARRANGEMENT STAND.

AS WAS THE CUSTOM IN THOSE DAYS, TYCHO WENT OFF TO STUDY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN AT THE TENDER AGE OF 13.

THERE HE RECEIVED A LIBERAL EDUCATION IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEDIEVAL UNIVERSITY, THOUGH HEAVY FLAVORED WITH A HUMANIST CURRICULUM.

ON AUGUST 21ST, 1560 A SOLAR ECLIPSE OCCURRED; IT WAS TOTAL IN PORTUGAL, BUT ONLY PARTIAL IN COPENHAGEN.

TYCHO HAD ALREADY DEVELOPED AN INTEREST IN ASTROLOGY; AND NOW, WHEN HE SAW THE ECLIPSE TAKING PLACE AT THE PREDICTED TIME IT STRUCK HIM -- TO QUOTE TYCHO HIMSELF -- "AS SOMETHING DIVINE THAT MEN COULD KNOW THE MOTIONS OF THE STARS SO ACCURATELY THAT THEY COULD LONG BEFORE FORETELL THEIR PLACES AND RELATIVEPOSITIONS" (QUOTED IN GASSENDI, P. 5).

CONSEQUENTLY HIS INTEREST IN ASTRONOMY INTENSIFIED, THOUGH THIS FIELD LAY OUTSIDE HIS REGULAR COURSE OF STUDY.

HE PURCHASED A COPY OF PTOLEMY'S "ALMAGEST" WHICH HAD BEEN PUBLISHED IN BASEL IN 1551, AND STUDIED THE TECHNICAL DETAILS OF PTOLEMAIC ASTRONOMY.

BY THE WAY, TYCHO'S COPY STILL EXISTS WITH HIS ANNOTATIONS IN THE MARGINS (AT PRAGUE).

TYCHO REMAINED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN FOR THREE YEARS BUT WITHOUT TAKING A DEGREE -- AS A NOBLEMAN, HE WOULD HAVE LITTLE USE FOR A DEGREE, WHICH, AS MENTIONED BEFORE, WAS ESSENTIALLY A LICENSE TO TEACH.

UNCLE JORGE SENT HIM TO LEIPZIG TO STUDY LAW, HOPING HE WOULD LOOSE HIS INTEREST IN ASTRONOMY, AND MASTER A SUBJECT MORE USEFUL AND FITTING TO A NOBLEMAN.

HOWEVER, EVEN IN LEIPZIG TYCHO SPENT MOST OF HIS TIME AND MONEY FOLLOWING HIS LOVE OF ASTRONOMY.

HE BOUGHT BOOKS ON ASTRONOMY, INCLUDING A COPY OF THE ALPHONSINE TABLES (WHICH WERE BASED ON PTOLEMY) AND A COPY OF THE PRUTENIC TABLES, RECENTLY PUBLISHED BY ERASMUS REINHOLD AND BASED ON THE COPERNICAN THEORY.

AND HE BOUGHT ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENTS.

HE QUICKLY LEARNED HOW TO USE EACH SET OF TABLES, BUT FOUND THE PREDICTED POSITIONS OF THE PLANETS DIFFERED FROM EACH OTHERAND FROM THEIR ACTUAL POSITIONS.

AND FOUND ERRORS IN THE CALCULATIONS OTHER ASTRONOMERS HADMADE.

THIS DISTURBED HIM; IT CONTRADICTED WHAT HE HAD COME TO BELIEVE ABOUT THE POWER AND TRUTH OF ASTRONOMICAL PREDICTION.

AT AGE SIXTEEN, HE REALIZED THAT ONLY THROUGH A SERIES OF SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATIONS WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN A BETTERUNDERSTANDING OF THE MOTION OF THE PLANETS AND THEREBY DECIDE WHICH SYSTEM, THE PTOLEMAIC OR THE COPERNICAN, WAS THE TRUE SYSTEM OF THE WORLD.

IN OTHER WORDS, TYCHO SAW THE ONLY WAY TO DECIDE BETWEEN TWO COMPETING THEORIES WAS TO APPEAL TO A PROGRAM OF SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION.

ONLY THEN COULD ASTRONOMY BE FULLY RESTORED TO ITS PROPER STATURE.

IN AUGUST OF 1563 THERE WAS A CONJUNCTION OF SATURN AND JUPITER-- THAT IS, WHEN BOTH HAVE THE SAME LONGITUDE IN THE NIGHT SKY.

BECAUSE THESE PLANETS POSSESSED SPECIAL ASTROLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE, TYCHO BEGAN FOR THE FIRST TIME TO RECORD HIS OBSERVATIONS.

PREDICTIONS OF THE TIME OF CONJUCTION BASED ON THE ALPHONSINETABLES WERE MORE THAN A MONTH OFF, WHILE THE PREDICTION BASEDON THE PRUTENIC TABLES WAS ONLY A FEW DAYS OFF.

IN GENERAL HE FOUND THAT THE ALPHONSINE TABLES PREDICTED THE POSITIONS OF THE INFERIOR PLANETS BETTER THAN THE PRUTENIC (COPERNICAN) TABLES; AND THE PRUTENIC TABLES PREDICTED THE SUPERIOR PLANETS BETTER THAN THE ALPHONSINE.

THESE DISCREPANCIES ONLY SERVED TO STRENGTHEN HIS BELIEF IN THEIMPORTANCE OF SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION.

CONCERN FOR ACCURATE OBSERVATIONS IN TURN INCREASED HIS OCCUPATION WITH INSTRUMENTS AND INSTRUMENT-MAKERS.

IN THE JUDGMENT OF KEPLER, WRITING A GENERATION LATER, "THE RESTORATION OF ASTRONOMY [WAS] FIRST CONCEIVED BY THAT PHOENIXOF ASTRONOMERS, TYCHO, IN THE YEAR 1564".

BUT TYCHO WAS ALSO AN ACTIVE AND WELL-RESPECTED ASTROLOGER; HE HIMSELF BELIEVED IN, AND PRACTICED, JUDICIAL ASTROLOGY -- THE ART OF PREDICTING THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS ON THE BASIS OF THE POSITIONS AND MOTIONS OF THE HEAVENLY BODIES.

IN 1566, TYCHO BEGAN AN EXTENDED TOUR OF VARIOUS CENTRAL EUROPEAN PROTESTANT UNIVERSITIES.

HE STAYED A FEW MONTHS IN WITTENBERG, AND STUDIED UNDER CASPAR PEUCER, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, PHYSICIAN ORDINARY TO THEELECTOR OF SAXONY, AND ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE MELANCHTHON CIRCLE MENTIONED EARLIER.

BECAUSE OF AN OUTBREAK OF PLAGUE IN WITTENBERG, HE LEFT TOO SOON TO BENEFIT MUCH FROM PEUCER'S INSTRUCTION.

HE TRAVELLED ON TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ROSTOCK.

THERE, IN 1566, IN ADDITION TO HIS PURSUIT OF ASTRONOMY, HE GOT INTO A SWORD DUEL WITH FELLOW DANE OVER WHO WAS THE BETTER MATHEMATICIAN.

HOWEVER GOOD TYCHO MAY HAVE BEEN AS AT CALCULATIONS, HE SEVERELY MISCALCULATED HIS OWN SWORDMANSHIP AND HAD PART OFHIS NOSE CUT OFF IN THE DUEL.

LIKE MOST MEMBERS OF THE ARISTOCRACY AT THIS TIME, HE WAS INTENSELY CONSCIOUS OF HIS OUTWARD APPEARANCE, AND HE SOUGHT TO REPAIR HIS RECENTLY ACQUIRED DEFECT WITH AN ARTIFICIAL NOSE MADE OF GOLD AND SILVER.

ACCORDING TO CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS, HE CARRIED A BOX WITH HIM AT ALL TIMES AND WAS CONTINUALLY APPLYING AN OINTMENT OF GLUTINOUS MATERIAL TO HIS SILVER NOSE IN ORDER TO KEEP IT FROM FALLING OFF.

PUTTING THIS UNPLEASANT EPISODE BEHIND HIM, TYCHO TRAVELLED ON TO BASEL AND AUGSBURG, WHERE HE DISCUSSED MATTERS OF INSTRUMENT DESIGN WITH AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS THERE.

HE DECIDED THAT THE ONLY WAY ONE COULD OBTAIN GOOD OBSERVATIONS WAS WITH LARGE INSTRUMENTS.

AND WITH THE COOPERATION OF AUGSBURG CRAFTSMEN, HE HAD QUADRANT MADE WITH A 19 FOOT DIAMETER, THE LARGEST ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENT EVER SEEN IN EUROPE.

IT WAS ALSO IN AUGSBURG, IN 1570, THAT TYCHO MET THE FAMOUS THE FRENCH HUGUENOT AND SEVERE CRITIC OF ARISTOTELIAN PHILOSOPHY, PETER RAMUS.

IN A WORK PUBLISHED IN 1569, RAMUS HAD CALLED FOR THE REFORMATION OF ASTRONOMY THROUGH OBSERVATION, AND HAD CHALLENGED EUROPE'S ASTRONOMERS TO CREATE AN ASTRONOMY WITHOUT HYPOTHESIS, AND PREMISED ONLY ON LOGIC AND MATHEMATICS.

DESPITE THEIR SHARED INTERESTS IN THE REFORM OF ASTRONOMY, TYCHO TOLD RAMUS THAT AN ASTRONOMY WITHOUT HYPOTHESES WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE.

ALTHOUGH ASTRONOMY MUST DEPEND ON NUMERICAL DATA AND MEASUREMENTS, TYCHO NOTED, THE APPARENT MOTIONS OF THE STARS AND PLANETS COULD ONLY BE REPRESENTED BY CIRCLES AND OTHER FIGURES.

RAMUS AND TYCHO ALSO DISCUSSED ASTROLOGY -- IN FACT, IT SEEMS ITWAS RAMUS' INTEREST IN ASTROLOGY THAT HAD DRAWN HIM TO TYCHO IN THE FIRST PLACE.

HOWEVER, AN EVENT WAS TO HAPPEN IN 1572 TO INTERRUPT HIS ALCHEMICAL STUDIES AND CHANGE TYCHO'S LIFE.

ON THE EVENING OF NOVEMBER 11TH, 1572, WHILE RETURNING FROM HISALCHEMICAL LABORATORY, TYCHO NOTICED AN UNFAMILIAR STAR, BRIGHTER THAN VENUS, AND LOCATED IN THE CONSTELLATION CASSIOPAE.

THE NEW STAR REMAINED IN SKY FOR 18 MONTHS, GRADUALLY DECREASING IN BRIGHTNESS, AND CHANGING COLOR.

TYCHO OBSERVED IT WITH SEVERAL OF HIS NEW INSTRUMENTS.

HIS CHEIF CONCERN WAS TO SEE IF THE NEW STAR SHOWED ANY PARALLAX -- THAT IS, WHETHER IT SHOWED ANY CHANGE IN POSITION WITH RESPECT TO THE FIXED STARS.

A SHIFT -- AND ESCPECIALLY THE SIZE OF THE SHIFT -- WOULD GIVE AN INDICATION OF THE NEW STAR'S DISTANCE FROM THE EARTH.

[PENCIL AT ARMS-LENGHTH ROUTINE].

TYCHO'S OBSERVATIONS OF NEW STAR WERE CONTAINED IN AN ASTROLOGICAL DIARY HE WAS PREPARING FOR THE NEXT YEAR.

HOWEVER, TYCHO WAS RELUCTANT TO PUBLISH BECAUSE THE PREVAILING ATTITUDE WAS THAT IT WAS NOT PROPER FOR A NOBLEMAN TO WRITE AND PUBLISH BOOKS.

FRIENDS EVENTUALLY PERSUADED HIM TO PUBLISH, AND THE BOOK, ENTITLED "DE NOVA STELLE" APPEARED IN 1573, (NOW VERY RARE).

IT WAS BY FAR THE BEST AND MOST ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF THE NEW STAR IN ALL OF EUROPE.

TYCHO WAS UNABLE TO DETECTED ANY PARALLAX, AND THAT SUGGESTED THAT THE NEW STAR WAS VERY FAR AWAY.

THIS MEANT THAT THE NEW STAR COULD NOT BE A METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENON; THAT IS, IT COULD NOT BE LOCATED IN THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE.

ACCORDING TO TYCHO'S CALCULATIONS, THE NEW STAR HAD TO BE IN THE SUPRALUNARY REGION, -- THAT IS, ABOVE THE MOON AND ALSO BEYOND THE PLANETS, AND THAT IT MOST LIKELY BELONGED TO THE EIGHTH, OR STELLAR, SPHERE.

THIS WAS IN DIRECT CONTRADICTION TO ARISTOTELIAN THEORY, SINCE ARISTOTLE HAD CLAIMED THAT THE HEAVENS WERE A REGION OF CHANGELESSNESS AND PERFECTION -- NOTHING NEW COULD EVER APPEAR IN THE CELESTIAL REGION AND NOTHING THERE COULD EVER PASS AWAY.

IT COULD NOT BE A COMET, AS SOME ASTRONOMERS HAD SUPPOSED, BECAUSE IT LOOKED JUST LIKE A STAR, LACKED A TAIL, AND DID NOT MOVE WITH RESPECT TO THE FIXED STARS.

IN ADDITION TO THE ACCURATE DESCRIPTION AND POSITION OF THE STAR, TYCHO ALSO PRONOUNCED UPON ITS ASTROLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS.

THIS WAS AN ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT TASK SINCE ASTROLOGERS LACKEDA PRECEDENT, SINCE NO EUROPEAN ASTRONOMER OR ASTROLOGER HADEVER WITNESSED THE APPEARANCE OF A NEW STAR.

THE SUPERIORITY OF TYCHO'S ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS WAS DUETO HIS CAREFUL USE OF SUPERIOR INSTRUMENTS.

HE UNDERSTOOD THE LIMITATIONS OF HIS INSTRUMENTS AND SOUGHT TO CORRECT FOR THE ERRORS THEY INTRODUCED.

HE ELEVATED THE ART OF NAKED-EYE OBSERVATION TO A NEW PLANE, INDEED HE WAS TO TAKE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATION TO THE LIMITS OF ACCURACY ALLOWED BY THE UNAIDED EYE.

....

I WILL RETURN TO THE PLACE OF ASTROLOGY IN THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION IN A LATER LECTURE.



HOWEVER, FOR TODAY, LET ME GET BACK TO TYCHO.

....


SHORTLY AFTER TYCHO'S LECTURE SERIES, HE VISITED THE LANDGRAVEWILHELM IV OF HESSE, ALSO AN ARDENT LOVER OF ASTRONOMY.

WILHELM WAS SO IMPRESSED WITH TYCHO -- WHO WAS NOT YET 30 -- THAT HE URGED KING FREDERICK II OF DENMARK TO DO SOMETHING FORTYCHO SO HE COULD PURSUE ASTRONOMY IN HIS HOMELAND.

IT HAD BEEN RUMORED THAT TYCHO WAS PREPARING TO LEAVE HIS HOMELAND FOR GOOD.

WILHELM ARGUED THAT FOR FREDERICK II TO BECOME PATRON OF TYCHO WOULD NOT ONLY BRING HONOR AND CREDIT TO THE KING, IT WOULD CERTAINLY BE OF GREAT VALUE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE.

FREDERICK WAS CONVINCED, AND IN 1576 THE KING GAVE TYCHO THE ISLAND OF HVEN, JUST OFF THE DANISH COAST, 400 DALER TO BUILD HOUSE: AND AN ANNUAL STIPEND OF 500 DALERS TO CONDUCT HIS RESEARCHES.

THESE WERE INDEED PRINCELY SUMS.

TYCHO'S ONLY REAL OBLIGATION TO THE KING WAS TO ADVISE HIM ONMATTERS RELATING TO THE CALENDAR AND TO CAST EXTENSIVE AND DETAILED HOROSCOPES FOR EACH OF THE KING'S CHILDREN.

BOTH OF THESE DUTIES TYCHO DISCHARGED AS REQUIRED.

ON THIS ISLAND TYCHO ERECTED HIS FAMOUS OBSERVATORY, WHICH HECALLED STERNEBORG -- OR 'STAR-CASTLE'.

TYCHO REMAINED ON HVEN UNTIL 1597; AND HE WAS -- QUITE LITERALLY -- LORD AND MASTER OF THE ISLAND AND ALL ITS INHABITANTS.

HVEN WAS LEGALLY HIS FIEFDOM, AND HE ITS LORD IN THE FEUDAL SENSE OF THE TERM.

HE HAD CONSTRUCTED SEVERAL LARGE BUILDINGS TO HOUSE THE ENORMOUS ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENTS HE HAD MADE.

IN THE BASEMENT OF ONE OF THESE BUILDINGS TYCHO HAD INSTALLEDLARGE FURNACES AND A WELL-EQUIPPED ALCHEMICAL LABORATORY.

AND HE HAD HIS OWN PAPER-MILL AND PRINTING PRESS ON THE ISLAND,WHERE HE NOT ONLY PUBLISHED MANY OF HIS ASTRONOMICAL WORKSBUT ALSO HIS OWN POETRY.

AND ALL THE PEASANTS OF THE ENTIRE ISLAND OF HVEN -- WHO, BY ROYAL PROCLAMATION, WERE FORBIDDEN TO LEAVE THE ISLAND -- WEREOBLIGED TO DEVOTE TWO DAYS OF WORK PER WEEK, FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET, TO TYCHO'S SERVICES.

IF YOU WERE NOT A PEASANT, IT MUST HAVE BEEN AN INTERESTING PLACE, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE UNUSUAL CAST OF CHARACTERS -- NOT THE LEAST OF WHOM WAS THE SILVER-NOSED LORD OF THIS SCIENTIFIC FEIFDOM.

THERE WAS THE WIDOW HOLK, FORMER PROPRIETESS OF THE ISLAND, WHO WAS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO SUE TYCHO FOR PAYMENT OF IMAGINED DEBTS.

THERE WAS JEPPE, THE DEMENTED DWARF, WHO BABBLED CONSTANTLYAND WAS IN THE HABIT OF SITTING UNDER THE BANQUET TABLE WHEREHE RECEIVED MORSELS OF FOOD FROM HIS MASTER'S HAND.

TYCHO AND MOST OF HIS ENTOURAGE BELIEVED THAT JEPPE POSSESSEDTHE GIFT OF SECOND SIGHT.

AND, DESPITE HIS SOMEWHAT DEFECTIVE MENTAL STATE, JEPPE WAS INVARIABLY SOUGHT OUT FOR HIS MEDICAL PROGNOSTICATIONS - WHICH,WE ARE TOLD, ALWAYS TURNED OUT TO BE RIGHT.

THERE WAS TYCHO'S SISTER, SOPHIA, WHO WAS A KNOWLEDGEABLE ASTRONOMER AND ALCHEMIST IN HER OWN RIGHT AND OFTEN ASSISTED TYCHO IN HIS WORK.

AND THERE WAS THE WISE WOMAN, LIUVA LAURIDSDATTER, COMPANION TO SOPHIA AND VETERAN ASTROLOGER.

SHE DIED IN 1593 -- ALLEGEDLY AT AGE 124.

THERE WAS ALSO A STEADY STREAM OF VISITORS, GUESTS, AND YOUNG SCHOLARS WISHING TO STUDY AT THE MASTER'S KNEE.

AS MANY AS 80 ITINERATE SCHOLARS PASSED THROUGH TYCHO'S GRAND"RESEARCH INSTITUTE," THOUGH MOST ONLY MANAGED TO ENDURE ISLAND LIFE, HOSTILE PEASANTS, AND JEPPE FOR A FEW WEEKS.

HOWEVER, TEN OF THESE WOULD-BE APPRENTICES ACTUALLY STAYED FOR AN AVERAGE OF MORE THAN TWO YEARS, AND THEY CONSTITUTED THE CORE OF TYCHO'S RESEARCH STAFF.

MOST OF THOSE WHO STAYED AROUND ANY LENGTH OF TIME WERE EITHER VERY COMPETENT OBSERVERS OR MATHEMATICIANS WHO SERVED TYCHO BY RECORDING OBSERVATIONS, MAKING CALCULATIONS,OR ASSISTING HIM IN HIS ALCHEMCIAL WORK.

HIS ALCHEMICAL WORK, BY THE WAY, WAS DIRECTLY PRIMARILY TO THEMAKING OF PHARMACEUTICALS AND ELIXIRS, AND NOT TO THE MAKINGOF GOLD.

AND TYCHO WAS NOT THE COMPLETE TYRANT ON HVEN, FOR HE DISPENSED HIS MEDICINES TO THE ISLAND'S INHABITANTS FREE OF CHARGE.

PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT RESIDENT OF HVEN, BESIDES TYCHO HIMSELF, WAS ONE HANS CROL, HIS TECHNICAL ASSISTANT AND MASTER CRAFTSMAN.

IT WAS CROL WHO HELPED DESIGN, FABRICATE, AND INSTALL SOME OF THE MASSIVE ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENTS TYCHO USED FOR HIS OBSERVATIONS.

HE WAS REPUTED TO HAVE EXCEPTIONALLY KEEN EYE-SIGHT AND THUSWAS OFTEN CALLED UPON TO CARRY OUT THE ACTUAL OBSERVATIONS.

THIS POINT TAKES ON SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE WHEN WE REALIZE THAT CROL, AS A COMMON ARTISAN, CERTAINLY LACKED A FORMAL EDUCATION AND MUST HAVE LEARNED ASTRONOMY FROM TYCHO HIMSELF -- A CURIOUS MIXING OF ARISTOCRAT AND COMMONER UNITED BY THE SHARED INTEREST IN ASTRONOMY.

IT WAS IN THIS MILIEU THAT TYCHO PURSUED, FOR MORE THAN TWENTYYEARS, THE MOST SOPHISTICATED SERIES OF ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS EVER UNDERTAKEN IN EUROPEAN HISTORY.


B. His Program of Systematic Observation.

EVER SINCE HIS SIXTEENTH YEAR, TYCHO KNEW WHAT WAS NEEDED FORTHE REFORM OF ASTRONOMY; ACCURATE OBSERVATIONS.

HIS LIFE'S GOAL HAD BEEN TO REVAMP THE OBSERVATIONAL RECORD, AND FINALLY, ON HVEN, HE WAS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS.

HE USED LARGE STABLE INSTRUMENTS OF HIS OWN DESIGN TO IMPROVETHE ACCURACY OF STELLAR AND PLANETARY POSITIONS.

IN FACT, HE MANAGED TO IMPROVE THE LEVEL OF ACCURACY BY A FACTOR OF TWO: REDUCING THE ERROR FOR STELLAR OBSERVATIONS TO ABOUT 4' OF ARC AND FOR PLANETARY OBSERVATIONS TO ABOUT 1' OF ARC.

HE ALSO OBSERVED THE PLANETS MORE FREQUENTLY IN THEIR ORBITS THAN HAD EVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.

INSTEAD OF RECORDING THEIR POSITIONS AT FOUR POINTS -- THE 'QUADRANTS' -- HE OBSERVED THEM AT EIGHT POINTS -- THE 'OCTANTS'.

AS WE SHALL SEE NEXT WEEK, KEPLER'S DISCOVERY OF ELLIPTICAL ORBITS WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT THESE EXTRA DATA POINTS.

TYCHO SUCCEEDED IN PROVIDING ASTRONOMERS WITH A REMARKABLYCOMPLETE SET OF IMPROVED OBSERVATIONAL DATA.

PRIOR TO TYCHO'S WORK, ALL EUROPEAN ASTRONOMERS HAD RELIED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ON THE OBSERVATIONAL DATA CONTAINED IN PTOLEMY'S "ALMAGEST".

THUS TYCHO, THROUGH HIS PROGRAM OF SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION, WAS ABLE TO BREAK THE TYRANNY OF PTOLEMAIC DATA.
III. The Tychonic Compromise.

A. The Transition to a Geo-heliocentric Scheme.

BUT DATA ALONE DOES NOT MAKE A NEW PLANETARY THEORY.

NOR, DESPITE TYCHO'S YOUTHFUL HOPES, DID HIS DATA ALLOW HIM TODECIDE BETWEEN PTOLEMY AND COPERNICUS.

WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN THAT, DURING HIS LECTURES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COPERNHAGEN IN 1574, TYCHO EXPRESSED A POSITIVE OPINION ABOUT COPERNICUS, CALLING HIM A 'SECOND PTOLEMY'.

BUT, DID TYCHO ACCEPT THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM? NO, HE DIDN'T -- HEREJECTED IT AS A PHYSICAL SYSTEM -- AND FOR THREE REASONS.

1) FIRST, IF THE EARTH WERE ROTATING, THEN A STONE DROPPED FROM ATOWER WOULD FALL TO THE WEST OF THE TOWER.

THAT IS, THE EARTH WOULD CARRY THE TOWER RAPIDLY TO THE EAST AND LEAVE THE 'UNATTACHED' STONE TO FALL WELL TO THE WEST OF THE TOWER.

2) SECOND, TYCHO COULD OBSERVE NO STELLAR PARALLAX.

TO EXPLAIN WHAT TYCHO MEANS BY THIS CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING DIAGRAM.

....


NOW A COMMITTED COPERNICAN COULD OBJECT THAT, IF THE STARS WERE REALLY VERY FAR AWAY, AS COPERNICUS HIMSELF CLAIMED, THENWE CANNOT HOPE TO BE ABLE TO DETECT STELLAR PARALLAX.

TYCHO COUNTERED THIS ARGUMENT BY POINTING OUT THAT THE BRIGHTNESS OF A STAR IS DEPENDENT ON ITS SIZE.

AND TYCHO CLAIMED THAT, FOR THE BRIGHTER STARS, HE COULD ACTUALLY SEE THE BODY OF THE STAR.

AND IF HE COULD SEE THE BODY OF A STAR, THEN THE STAR CANNOT BEAS FAR AWAY AS COPERNICUS WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE.

3) TYCHO'S THIRD REASON FOR REJECTING COPERNICUS IS BASED IN SCRIPTURE.

HE DOESN'T THINK THE A MOVING EARTH CAN BE RECONCILED WITH CERTAIN PASSAGES FROM THE BIBLE.

IN OTHER WORDS, TYCHO ADOPTS THE NEGATIVE POSITION OF MOST PROTESTANT THEOLOGIANS ON THE QUESTION OF THE COMPATIBILITY OFA MOVING EARTH WITH THE LITERAL READING OF THE BIBLE.

BUT TYCHO DID NOT REJECT COPERNICUS ENTIRELY.

HE SAW THE ADVANTAGE OF USING THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM FOR PURPOSES OF SIMPLIFYING CALCULATIONS.

IF TYCHO DID NOT ACCEPT COPERNICUS, WAS HE A PTOLEMAIC ASTRONOMER?.

NO, TYCHO COULD NOT ACCEPT A STRICTLY GEOCENTRIC MODEL EITHER.

TYCHO CAME UP WITH HIS OWN EXPLANATION OF PLANETARY MOTION.

BUT, IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND HOW HE GOT THERE, WE MUST FIRST GOBACK TO THE YEAR JUST AFTER TYCHO SET UP SHOP ON THE ISLAND OF HVEN, IN 1577.

ON NOVEMBER 13TH OF THAT YEAR TYCHO WAS OUT FISHING FOR HIS DINNER IN ONE OF THE FISHPONDS HE HAD BUILT ON THE ISLAND.

HE LOOKED UP, AS WAS HIS CUSTOM, AND HAPPENED TO NOTICE A BRIGHT COMET.

HE IMMEDIATELY COMMENCED A SERIES OF CAREFUL OBSERVATIONS.

THE COMET REMAINED VISIBLE FROM STERNEBORG UNTIL LATE JANUARY.

ALTHOUGH TYCHO DID NOT YET HAVE HIS FULL COMPLEMENT OF HUGEASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENTS, HE WAS ABLE TO DETERMINE SEVERAL THINGS ABOUT THE COMET.

ACCORDING TO TYCHO'S BEST RECKONING, THE COMET DISPLAYED NO PARALLAX.

THEREFORE, JUST AS IN THE CASE OF THE NEW STAR OF 1572, THE COMETMUST LIE BEYOND THE ORBIT OF THE MOON -- THAT IS, IN THE SUPPOSEDLY CHANGELESS REGION OF THE HEAVENLY SPHERES.

TRADITIONALLY -- AND ESPECIALLY ACCORDING TO ARISTOTELIAN THEORY -- COMETS WERE BELIEVED TO BE SUBLUNARY PHENOMENA PRODUCED BY THE IGNITION, IN THE UPPER REACHES OF THE ATMOSPHERE, OF VAPOROUS EXHALATIONS FROM THE EARTH.

HOWEVER, THE ABSENCE OF PARALLAX DEMONSTRATED THAT COMETSWERE INDEED CELESTIAL AND NOT METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENA.

THIS WAS THE FIRST OF SEVERAL COMETS TYCHO HAD THE OPPORTUNITYTO OBSERVE FROM STERNEBORG.

ON THE BASIS OF THIS SERIES OF COMET OBSERVATIONS TYCHO CAME TO A TRULY STARTLING CONCLUSION.

HE WAS ABLE TO ESTABLISH UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT THE PATHS OF THE COMETS INTERSECTED THE ORBITS OF THE PLANETS.

REMEMBER THAT I EXPLAIN LAST TIME THAT COPERNICUS BELIEVED HEHAD TO GIVE THE EARTH A THIRD MOTION -- A NEARLY ANNUAL CONICAL PRECESSION OF THE EARTH'S AXIS.

THIS WAS BECAUSE HE BELIEVED THE EARTH, LIKE ALL THE OTHER PLANETS, WAS IMBEDDED IN A SPHERE THAT CARRIES IT AROUND THE SUN.

IN FACT, EVEN IN THE ARISTOTELIAN SCHEME, ALL THE PLANETS WERE THOUGHT TO BE IMBEDDED IN CRYSTALLINE SPHERES.

AND ROTATION OF THESE SPHERES IS WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE GROSS MOTIONS OF THE PLANETS.

IN OTHER WORDS, CRYSTALLINE SPHERES ARE PHYSICALLY REQUIRED INORDER TO KEEP PLANETS MOVING IN THEIR ORBITS.

IF THIS IS SO, THEN HOW COULD TYCHO'S COMETS HAVE ORBITS THAT CROSSED THROUGH THESE CRYSTALLINE SPHERES?.

TYCHO WAS UNAMBIGUOUS ON THIS POINT -- HE TRUSTED HIS OBSERVATIONS AND CALCULATIONS AND BOLDLY CONCLUDED THAT THERE WERE NO CRYSTALLINE SPHERES IN THE HEAVENS.

THE EVIDENCE THE COMETS PROVIDED CONCERNING THE IMPOSSIBILITYOF CRYSTALLINE SPHERES OPENED UP FOR TYCHO A NEW WAY OF APPROACHING THE PROBLEM OF PLANETARY ORBITS.

IN TYCHO'S VIEW, THE COPERNICAN THEORY VIOLATED SOUND PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES AND PLACED THE STELLAR SPHERE AT AN ABSURDDISTANCE FROM THE EARTH.

THE PTOLEMAIC THEORY, ON THE OTHER HAND, WAS DISPLEASING BECAUSE OF THE EQUANT AND ITS GENERAL COMPLEXITY.

TYCHO'S SOLUTION WAS TO PRESERVE THE APPARENT SIMPLICITY AND INTELLIGIBILITY OF THE COPERNICAN SYSTM WITHOUT SACRIFICING THE PRINCIPLES OF ARISTOTELIAN PHYSICS OR BIBLICAL TRUTH.

TYCHO'S COMPROMISE SOLUTION WAS TO HAVE THE EARTH AT REST AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, AS IN THE PTOLEMAIC SYSTEM, BUT TO HAVEALL THE PLANETS ORBIT THE SUN, AS IN THE COPERNICAN.

BECAUSE THERE ARE REALLY TWO CENTERS OF MOTION, THE TYCHONICSYSTEM IS CALLED THE GEO-HELIOCENTRIC THEORY.

BUT IF WE DRAW THIS SCHEME, A PROBLEM PRESENTS ITSELF.

THE ORBIT OF MARS SEEMS TO INTERSECT THE ORBIT OF THE SUN.

NOW, IF THE PLANETS ARE CARRIED AROUND BY CRYSTALLINE SPHERES,THE TYCHONIC SOLUTION IS ABSURD -- ONE CANNOT HAVE SOLID SPHERES THAT INTERPENETRATE.

[DIAGRAM].

HOWEVER, TYCHO HAS ALREADY GOTTEN RID OF CRYSTALLINE SPHERES,SO, TO HIM, HIS SYSTEM SEEMS TO BE THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS.

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE IN THIS CONTEXT THAT TYCHO WAS PREPARED TO GIVE UP A STRUCTURE THAT WAS FUNDAMENTAL TO THE ARISTOTELIAN CONCEPTION OF THE UNIVERSE FOR THE SIMPLY REASON THAT HE DID NOT PUT MUCH STOCK IN ARISTOTLE.

HIS OBSERVATIONS OF THE NEW STAR OF 1572 HAD ALREADY SHOWN THAT ARISTOTLE WAS WRONG ABOUT THE HEAVENS -- THEY ARE NOT CHANGELESS REGIONS OF PERFECTION, BUT SUBJECT TO CHANGE LIKE THE ELEMENTAL WORLD.

AND HE HAD SHOWN THAT COMETS WERE NOT ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA, AS ARISTOTLE HAD MAINTAINED, BUT CELESTIAL.

THUS TYCHO WAS NOT PARTICULARLY DISTURBED IF HE VIOLATED ARISTOTLE'S TEACHING.

IN FACT, HE WAS MUCH MORE INCLINED TO ACCEPT THE COSMOLOGY PUT FORTH BY PARACELSUS, A CONTEMPORARY OF COPERNICUS WHOM WILL WE LOOK AT MORE CLOSELY IN A FEW WEEKS.

RATHER THAN HAVING A SHARP DISTINCTION BETWEEN A CHANGING TERRESTIAL WORLD AND A CHANGELESS CELESTIAL WORLD, PRACELSUS ENVISIONED THE WORLD AS A LIVING, DYNAMIC COSMOS, SUBJECT TO BOTH GROWTH AND DECAY OVER TIME.

TYCHO'S SYMPATHATIC ATTITUDE TOWARD PARACELSUS MADE IT EASIER FOR HIM TO RID THE HEAVENS OF THE CRYSTALLINE SPHERES AND TO SEE THE CELESTIAL REGION AS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS THE TERRESTIAL REGION.


B. The Advantages & Disadvantages of the Tychonic System.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TYCHONIC SYSTEM ITSELF? WHAT WERE ITS ADVANTAGES?.

1) FIRST, IT LEAVES THE EARTH AT REST IN THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE,THUS PRESERVING THE ONE ASPECT OF ARISTOTLE TYCHO DID ACCEPT; NAMELY, HIS PHYSICS.

2) SECOND, THE TYCHONIC SYSTEM PRESERVES THE SIMPLICITY, HARMONY, AND INTELLIGIBILITY OF THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM WHILE AVOIDING ITS PHYSICAL ABSURDITIES.

IN FACT, THE TYCHONIC SYSTEM IS GEOMETRICALLY EQUIVALENT TO THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM.

THINK OF IT THIS WAY, IMAGINE THAT YOU HAD A MACHINE THAT WAS CONSTRUCTED EXACTLY ON THE COPERNICAN PLAN.

NOW, IF YOU LET IT RUN WHILE IT SITS ON THE TABLE, IT WILL CRANK OUT PROPER HELIOCENTRIC MOTIONS.

HOWEVER, IF YOU LET IT CONTINUE TO RUN BUT WERE TO PICK IT UP BY THE EARTH, SO THAT THE EARTH WERE NOW THE FIXED POINT, THE MACHINE WOULD NOW BE CRANKING OUT TYCHONIC MOTIONS.

ALL THE PLANETS CONTINUE TO ORBIT THE SUN, WHILE THE SUN NOW ORBITS THE EARTH.

THE CHIEF PROBLEM WITH THE TYCHONIC SYSTEM IS THAT HE LEFT IS ASA SIMPLE SCHEMATIC MODEL AND DID NOT DEVELOP IT INTO A FULL-BLOWN MATHEMATICAL MODEL CAPABLE OF MAKING PREDICTIONS.

ANOTHER PROBLEM IS MORE SUBTLE AND TOOK CONTEMPORARIES LONGER TO REALIZE.

SINCE CRYSTALLINE SPHERES ARE NO LONG POSSIBLE IN THE TYCHONICSYSTEM, WHAT KEEPS THE PLANETS IN THEIR ORBITS? AND WHAT MAKESTHEM MOVE?.

IF YOU THROW OUT THE RIGID CRYSTALLINE SPHERE THAT USED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOCKING THE PLANETS INTO THEIR PATHS AROUND THEEARTH -- OR SUN -- THEN WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE PLANETS ABILITY TOSTAY IN A WELL-DEFINED PATH?.

THIS PROBLEM -- WHAT WE MIGHT APPROPRIATELY CALL THE 'SECOND PROBLEM OF THE PLANETS' WAS NOT REALLY SOLVED UNTIL NEWTON AND THE THEORY OF UNIVERSAL GRAVITATION.

BUT IN THE MEANTIME, IN THE NEARLY 100 YEARS SEPARATING THE PUBLICATION OF TYCHO'S DESCRIPTION OF HIS COMPROMISE SYSTEM AND THE APPEARANCE OF NEWTON'AS "PRINCIPIA," THE GEO-HELIOCENTRIC SYSTEM WON THE ALLEGIANCE OF A MAJORITY OF EUROPEAN ASTRONOMERS.

IT PRESERVED THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS; THE COPERNICAN AND THE ARISTOTELIAN.

THIS WAS TO BE THE FATE OF THE TYCHONIC SYSTEM, BUT WHAT ABOUTTYCHO HIMSELF?.

IN 1588 FREDERICK II, THE KING WHO HAD ESTABLISHED TYCHO IN HIS 'STAR CASTLE' DIED.

THE NEW KING, CHRISTIAN IV, WAS MUCH LESS SYMPATHETIC TO TYCHO'S EXTRAVEGENT WAYS AND THERE QUICKLY ENSUED A NUMBER OF LEGAL AND FINANCIAL PROBLEMS BETWEEN THE KING AND TYCHO.

RELATIONS BECAME MORE AND MORE STRAINED UNTIL, IN 1597, CHRISTIAN FINALLY REVOKED TYCHO'S SUBSIDY AND FORCED TYCHO TO ABANDON STERNEBORG AND LEAVE HVEN.

TYCHO TRIED TO TAKE AS MANY OF THE LARGE INSTRUMENTS WITH HIMAS HE COULD.

AND HE SPENT THE NEXT FEW YEARS WANDERING ABOUT CENTRAL EUROPE -- WITH INSTRUMENTS IN TOW -- IN SERACH OF A NEW PATRON.

EVENTUALLY HIS SEARCH ENDED WHEN RUDOLPH II, THE ECCENTRIC KING OF BOHEMIA, OFFERED AN INVITATION TO TYCHO TO JOIN HIM IN PRAGUE.

DESPITE THIS NEW-FOUND SECURITY, TYCHO'S HEALTH BEGINS TO FAIL.

EARLIER, IN 1596, BEFORE COMING TO PRAGUE, TYCHO HAD NOTICED THE REMARKABLE -- IF SOMEWHAT UNUSUAL -- BOOK OF ONE JOHANNESKEPLER, A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER WORKING IN GRAZ, AUSTRIA.

THE BOOK WAS ENTITLED, "MYSTERIUM COSMOGRAPHICUM", OR 'COSMIC MYSTERY' AND SHOWED THAT ITS AUTHOR POSSESSED BOTH A LIVELY IMAGINATION AND REMARKABLE COMPUTATIONAL SKILLS.

ONCE SETTLED IN PRAGUE, TYCHO SAW THIS AS AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY TO INVITE KEPLER TO PRAGUE WHERE THEY COULD COLLABORATE ON TYCHO'S FAVORITE PROJECT -- THE MATHEMATIZATIONOF HIS GEO-HELIOCENTRIC SYSTEM.

KEPLER, FOR HIS PART, RESPONDED EAGERLY TO THE INVITATION -- ANDNOT SIMPLY BECAUSE OF HIS ADMIRATION OF TYCHO'S ABUNDANT OBSERVATIONAL RECORD.

FOR TYCHO'S OFFER CAME AT PRECISELY THE SAME TIME THAT KEPLER WAS ABOUT TO BE DRIVEN OUT OF CATHOLIC GRAZ FOR THE CRIME OF BEING PROTESTANT.

BEING PUSHED AND PULLED BY SUCH IRRESISTIBLE FORCES, KEPLER PACKED, MOVED, AND WAS IN PRAGUE BY 1600.



TYCHO DIED IN 1601, AND KEPLER, WITH NO LEGAL CLAIM WHATSOEVER,APPROPRIATED TYCHO'S DATA FROM HIS LEGAL HEIRS.


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