Thursday 3 December 2020

Astrognome 100 Great Stars No 90 Tycho's Star


Tycho’s Star

On November 6th 1572, W Schuler of Wittenberg witnessed a brilliant glowing star in Cassiopeia, one that outshone all the stars around it. Five days later, probably caused by poor autumn cloudy weather which is a problem in northern Europe, Tycho Brahe in Denmark also discovered this new star, or nova stellarum as it was described and the courses of astronomy and human thought changed forever.

The nova stellarum that Tycho saw was a supernova and it is referred to as Tycho’s Star because although he was the not the first to see it and indeed not the only one to observe it Tycho produced the most extensive reports on the event. At this time in history it was believed that the heavens were unchanging. This was the message sent from the church which was still very powerful in the middle ages.

Tycho’s Satr reached a maximum brightness of around -4 which is around the same brightness as the planet Venus. It was not until March 1574 that it dropped below naked eye visibility. It is believed that Tycho’s Star was a type 1 supernova which occurs when a white dwarf star pulls material from a companion star or even merges with the companion and a massive explosion is the result

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