Tycho Brahe's Contribution to Astronomy

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 The Copernican Contribution
  • 0:30 Tycho Brahe
  • 1:20 The Parallax
  • 2:28 The Geo-Heliocentric Theory
  • 3:50 Tycho's True…
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
There was a man who did not believe Ptolemy's version of the universe nor did he believe in Copernicus's views on the universe. Who was this daring man? He was Tycho Brahe. We'll learn about him in this lesson.

The Copernican Contribution

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer now credited for finally showing the world, once and for all, that the sun does not revolve around the Earth. But Copernicus couldn't explain planetary motion. He thought planets moved in a uniform circular motion around the sun, which is not true. This created space for other astronomers to come up with their own theories as to our universe. One such famous astronomer was Tycho Brahe.

Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer and nobleman. He was born in 1546 to an important and wealthy family. Unlike Copernicus, he was not a churchman and was known to be quite vain, haughty, and quick tempered. What else did you expect from a stereotypical nobleman? Actually, he disfigured his nose in a duel while studying at the university and wore a fake one made of metal thereafter.

Tycho studied law but was really passionate about math and astronomy instead. Unlike Copernicus, Tycho believed in a geocentric universe, a universe with Earth at its center, one where the sun revolves around the Earth. But, Tycho's idea of the geocentric universe was a bit different than Ptolemy's version.

The Parallax

In 1572, a 'new star' appeared that is now known as Tycho's Supernova. Tycho understood that this 'new star' should show parallax, the apparent shift in position of an object as a result of a change in the location of the observer. Parallax is something you experience every day without even thinking about it! It's a much harder sounding term than it actually is.

Let's say you are driving on a highway. In the far background there's a big mountain. Closer to the foreground, nearer the highway, there is a tree. You know logically that neither the tree nor the mountain can actually move. They don't have legs. They are standing still.

But, as you drive along the highway and approach the tree, it appears to be to one side of the mountain. As you pass the tree, it appears to be on the opposite side of the mountain. This is due to the parallax effect! Tycho did not see any parallax in the position of the 'star' he observed and, therefore, considered it to be important evidence against Ptolemaic theory.

The Geo-Heliocentric Theory

Tycho published a book about his thoughts on the matter that became quite popular. So popular, that the Danish king Frederick II funded a new observatory for him. In fact, the king let Tycho earn a salary by collecting rent from a coastal district. Not very surprisingly, it appears the townsfolk thought he was a pretty bad landlord. In any case, Tycho's observations and his observatory made him the most famous astronomer of his day and Denmark the center of astronomical study.

Because Tycho never measured any parallax for the stars, he thought this supported his viewpoint of a stationary Earth. Such a thought rejected the Copernican hypothesis. However, this same idea also rejected parts of the Ptolemaic model of the universe as well.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support