Making Tycho Brahe’s Sky Accessible to Future Astronomers

Bertil F. Dorch, Jakob Povl Holck, Kaare Lund Rasmussen, Majken Brahe Ellegaard Christensen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearch

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Can we make a copy of Tycho’s “De Nova Stella” that can in fact survive a nova? At first, this may seem at best a nerdish, if not distinctly foolish question. However, it is also both a technological and a philosophical question: In fact, answering questions like this is linked to both technical, physical and sociological problems related to the long-term preservation and curation of objects from current and past civilizations. The undertaking presented here is two-fold: Firstly, we report on the results from a state of the art short-term project, in which we have digitized and analyzed three well-known rare books pertaining to astronomical observations by Tycho Brahe on the island of Hven. The project let to the creation of free ebooks, enabling open access to the sky as recorded by Tycho. Secondly, we discuss some long-term issues related to the digital and physical preservation of scientific knowledge and heritage in general, exemplified by e.g. the works by Tycho. Future work includes further physical analysis of the books and fragments, a systematic extraction and digitization of the astronomical observations, digital curation and dissemination, as well as research into the possibility of creating representations and replicas of the works, durable on extremely long time-scales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnder One Sky : The IAU Centenary Symposium
EditorsChristiaan Sterken, John Hearnshaw, David Valls-Gabaud
Place of PublicationWien, Østrig
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication date1. Apr 2019
ISBN (Electronic)1743-9213
Publication statusPublished - 1. Apr 2019
EventThe 349th IAU Centenary Symposium - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 28. Aug 201831. Aug 2018
Conference number: 349


ConferenceThe 349th IAU Centenary Symposium
SeriesProceedings of the International Astronomical Union


  • Tycho Brahe
  • Preservation
  • Digitisation
  • Libraries
  • preservation
  • supernovae
  • observations
  • Brahe
  • Tycho


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