Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer, 1586.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from 'Opera Onmia' (Vol IV, written in 1586, Uraniborg, Denmark) by Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), showing Brahe aged 40. He is best remembered for his naked-eye observations that formed the basis of the first new star catalogue since Antiquity. These precise measurements allowed fellow scientist Johannes Kepler to accurately compute the orbits of the planets. Though Tycho did not believe the Earth moved around the Sun, his work provided support for the opposing view. Known as the heliocentric system, Nicolaus Copernicus first proposed the concept in 1543. In contrast, Tycho thought that all the planets orbited the Sun, which along with the Moon went round a stationary Earth.