Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Lunatic Puts A Stellar Observatory Underground?

Tycho Brahe, that's who. On his own private island, no less.


Rabbit said...

I would have loved to have seen that nose of his. He had a pet moose, too.

George said...

That was in advance of the nova
(Not the car)

Ambulance Driver said...

Wait a minute... wasn't that from some James Bond film?

og said...

I think they have one of the noses in a museum. I'm sure he rotated them out.

You'd have a couple of them, and as one got dirty you'd wear another. You'd have a thin nose, for when you were being extra good, and a fat nose made out of spandex when you had too many barrels of lutefisk, or whatever.

WV: Somblogu. New japanese kink involving blogging and small, animated monsters.

reflectoscope said...

The other people who bury observatories are the guys looking for neutrinos: Big tanks of heavy water way down in mineshafts.

AD - That was the Arecibo Observatory, trust me to know that.


karrde said...

And the solid foundation helped provide amazing levels of accuracy.

He made decades of observations without the use of a telescope, and provided data accurate to 15 arc-seconds. (That would be...1/240 of a degree, or 0.0041667 degrees...amazing.)

Justthisguy said...

"had a controversy with another student over who was the best mathematican..." So that's how he got the prosthetic nose.

Whee! Geek fight! With real swords!

Dr.D said...

Brahe was what is called an observational astronomer meaning that he made and recorded countless, very precise observations of various celestial bodies over an extended period (many years). It was his data that provided the experimental basis for Kepler's Laws of planetary motion. Kepler's Laws in turn provide supporting evidence for Newton's Second Law, F = M a. Thus Brahe played a very fundamental role in the development of mechanics.

As to putting his observatory underground, the most likely reason that comes to mind is the more constant temperature. He had to make observations year round, and seasonal temperature variation at the latitude of Denmark would likely have thrown steel or brass instruments completely off simply because of temperature variation from summer to winter. There is also the matter of shelter from wind induced vibration which is also quite important.