The clock is ticking for a team of scientists from Denmark who have until Friday to examine the remains of Tycho Brahe, before the famous astronomer is reburied at his crypt in Prague. Having exhumed the coffin yesterday, the researchers told physicsworld.com they have taken his body back to the project’s headquarters at Aarhus University where they will conduct a series of tests on the remaining bones and tissue.
“It’s research, research, research, and not much sleep,” says Svent Mogensen, the project’s head of communications. The need for urgency is because the Czech authorities have insisted that the remains are returned to Týn Church by Friday. “It has taken us 10 years to get permission for this study,” says Mogensen, comparing the process to The Trial by Franz Kafka.
Born in 1546, Brahe is considered to be the founder of modern observational astronomy. His meticulous observations of the night skies challenged the Ptolemaic view that the universe and its celestial bodies were unchangeable. But the details surrounding his sudden death in 1601 have remained shrouded in mystery.