PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), Danish astronomer, with his silver prosthetic nose. Brahe is considered the greatest astronomical observer of the pre-telescopic era. The son of a nobleman, he designed and built his own instruments and observatories with the patronage of the royalty of Europe. His two greatest achievements were the observation of a supernova in 1572, and his life-work: a catalogue of 777 star positions. Kepler would use the data from the star catalogue to support his laws of planetary motion. The quarrelsome Brahe lost most of his nose at 19 in a duel over a mathematical dispute.
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