Eccentric 15th century astronomer Tycho Brahe to be exhumed.

According to a Yahoo! news post that went up Monday, the body of long dead Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe will be exhumed in the coming months, with the resulting discoveries published to science, anthropologists, astronomers, and dorks in general in 2011. Brahe has been dead since 1601. He’s not just dead, he’s effing deceased. In the event that he is now an undead ghoul that kicks off the zombie apocalypse, I’m going to go on record now as the first official source “calling it”.

I originally learned about Tycho Brahe in an astronomy course in college, his various monumental contributions to astronomy in the days before telescopes and weather blimps. He pioneered early astronomical instruments and is known and respected for making the most accurate star charts with the naked eye. His discoveries were later used to cement the laws of planetary motion.

Brahe has long been one of my favorite historical characters. As stated above he’s an accomplished astronomer, but he also lived an extremely eccentric lifestyle. Here’s a quick synopsis: Brahe was granted ownership of his own island by the Danish king where he built Uraniborg, his own palace dedicated entirely to his craft. Early in his life he was a participant in a duel by sword, which resulted in the bridge of his nose being severed and thus being surgically replaced with a replica made of solid gold, affixed by paste. He was rumored to be an alchemy enthusiast and self medicated with mercury. He would host huge parties on his private island, where dancing bears and a midget named Jebb would entertain the guests. He owned a pet elk, which he referred to as a moose, and sadly met a tragic death after drinking too much beer at dinner and taking a fatal stumble down some stairs. Tycho’s own death has been famously known as bladder rupture from holding his urine for too long at dinner with royalty, but more recent investigations suggest that his death may have been caused by mercury poisoning.

It’s a little unsettling that they’ll be cracking open his tomb, but I am eager to hear some kind of confirmation on his actual cause of death, and for that matter anything else they can glean about his life from the remains.

It has always been a fantasy of mine to attend an alchemy party at Uraniborg, slam back some mercury with Brahe, get a moose-elk drunk, and then retire to the observatory and listen to the man rant on end about stars and planets.


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About Jon

Videogames / D&D / horror movies / metal / marine biology / sci-fi novels and film / comics. My sin of choice is sloth.