Article ID: CBB288745910

Tycho Brahe’s Calculi ad Corrigenda Elementa Orbitae Saturni and the technical aspects of his planetary model of Saturn (2020)


Tycho Brahe was not just an observer; he was a skilled theoretical astronomer, as his lunar and solar models show. Still, even if he is recognized for proposing the Geoheliocentric system, little do we know of the technical details of his planetary models, probably because he died before publishing the last two volumes of his Astronomiae Instaurandae Progymnasmata, which he planned to devote to the planets. As it happens, however, there are some extant drafts of his calculations in Dreyer’s edition of Tycho’s Opera Omnia under the name Calculi ad Corrigenda Elementa orbitae Saturni, which, to the best of my knowledge, have not yet been analyzed before. In these manuscripts, Tycho starts with calculations based on the Prutenic Tables and makes a series of adjustments to the mean longitude, the longitude of the apogee, and the eccentricity to fit a series of observations of oppositions. In doing that, Tycho (1) describes and applies a new method for obtaining accurate values for the parameters of the superior planets, he (2) develops a divided eccentricity (not bisected) model of Saturn, similar to the one we know Longomontanus and Kepler applied to Mars, and finally (3) he realizes that the true position of the Sun somehow affects the motion of Saturn around the zodiac and develops a method to correct the position of Saturn as a function of solar equation of anomaly. So, a close analysis of the calculations reveals details of the Tychonic planetary models unknown until now. The present study analyzes these drafts.

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Authors & Contributors
Jardine, Nicholas
Tybjerg, Karin
Mosley, Adam J.
Christianson, J. R.
Barker, Peter
Launert, Dieter
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
MHNH (Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas)
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology and Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Digital Library
Les Belles Lettres
Peter Lang
Orbits; planets
Primary literature (historical sources)
Brahe, Tycho
Ursus, Nicolas Reimarus
Kepler, Johannes
Copernicus, Nicolaus
Rothmann, Christoph
Time Periods
16th century
17th century
Eastern Europe

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