In 1576, the wonderfully eccentric Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe began construction on his observatory dedicated to the muse of astronomy, Urania. Brahe may be history’s most interesting astronomer — he lost his nose in a duel, hired a clairvoyant dwarf named Jepp to be his court jester, had prickly relationships with Galileo and Kepler, and kept a drunken pet moose — while also making some pretty amazing discoveries. The Uraniborg observatory was paired with a subterranean counterpart, named Stjerneborg (“Star Castle”) and housed astronomical instruments, a library, and an alchemical laboratory to fuel his other interests. Uraniborg was destroyed in 1601 after Brahe’s death, but a reconstruction of Stjerneborg can still be visited on the island of Hven in Denmark.
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