Article ID: CBB207006104

Instruments of Authority: Tycho Brahe’s Technological Illustrations (2018)


The astronomical instruments of Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, were crucial to his intended reform of astronomy in the sixteenth century. Tycho represented these devices in a series of images that were circulated in range of contexts, thereby disseminating information about his technology to a wider audience. Through an analysis of the iconographical content of these images and a consideration of the ways in which they were circulated, this article argues that images of technology were in fact crucial to Tycho’s attempts to establish his authority as an astronomer. Embodying his claims to accuracy and recruiting trust in his innovative instruments, the images reinforced the validity of his astronomy and thereby played a central role in sustaining his reputation as an astronomer.

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Authors & Contributors
Mosley, Adam J.
Barker, Peter
Christianson, J. R.
Tybjerg, Karin
Jardine, Nicholas
Coradeschi, Gabriele
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Galilæana: Journal of Galilean Studies
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
Cambridge University Press
Dover Publications
Controversies and disputes
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
Instruments, astronomical
Brahe, Tycho
Rothmann, Christoph
Ursus, Nicolas Reimarus
Kepler, Johannes
Galilei, Galileo
Benedetti, Giovanni Battista
Time Periods
16th century
17th century
15th century
Ming dynasty (China, 1368-1644)
Qing dynasty (China, 1644-1912)
Prague (Czechia)
Venice (Italy)
Northern Europe

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