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Kepler eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about Kepler.
to Uraniborg.  Before they reached him, after many vexatious delays, he had given up waiting for the funds promised for his building expenses, and removed from Benatek to Prague.  It was during this interval that after considerable negotiation, Kepler, who had been in correspondence with Tycho, consented to join him as an assistant.  Another assistant, Longomontanus, who had been with Tycho at Uraniborg, was finding difficulty with the long series of Mars observations, and it was arranged that he should transfer his energies to the lunar observations, leaving those of Mars for Kepler.  Before very much could be done with them, however, Tycho died at the end of October, 1601.  He may have regretted the peaceful island of Hveen, considering the troubles in which Bohemia was rapidly becoming involved, but there is little doubt that had it not been for his self-imposed exile, his observations would not have come into Kepler’s hands, and their great value might have been lost.  In any case it was at Uraniborg that the mass of observations was produced upon which the fame of Tycho Brahe rests.  His own discoveries, though in themselves the most important made in astronomy for many centuries, are far less valuable than those for which his observations furnished the material.  He discovered the third and fourth inequalities of the moon in longitude, called respectively the variation and the annual equation, also the variability of the motion of the moon’s nodes and the inclination of its orbit to the ecliptic.  He obtained an improved value of the constant of precession, and did good service by rejecting the idea that it was variable, an idea which, under the name of trepidation, had for many centuries been accepted.  He discovered the effect of refraction, though only approximately its amount, and determined improved values of many other astronomical constants, but singularly enough made no determination of the distance of the sun, adopting instead the ancient and erroneous value given by Hipparchus.

His magnificent Observatory of Uraniborg, the finest building for astronomical purposes that the world had hitherto seen, was allowed to fall into decay, and scarcely more than mere indications of the site may now be seen.

CHAPTER IV.

Kepler joins tycho.

The association of Kepler with Tycho was one of the most important landmarks in the history of astronomy.  The younger man hoped, by the aid of Tycho’s planetary observations, to obtain better support for some of his fanciful speculative theories, while the latter, who had certainly not gained in prestige by leaving Denmark, was in great need of a competent staff of assistants.  Of the two it would almost seem that Tycho thought himself the greater gainer, for in spite of his reputation for brusqueness and want of consideration, he not only made light of Kepler’s apology in the matter of Reymers, but treated him with

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