Stjerneborg (Tycho Brahe) – Stellaeburgum observatory & Uraniborg
To infinity… and beyond
For both (sold together)
Date of first edition: 1662
Date of this map: 1664
- Dimensions (not including margins): 43,5 x 54,5 cm
- Dimensions (with margins): 53,2 64,2 cm
For the ground plan of Uraniborg:
- Dimensions (not including margins): 38,8 x 49 cm
- Dimensions (with margins): 53,3 x 64,3
- Condition: Very good. Old colouring. Strong paper and very wide margins.
- Condition rating: A+
- Verso: text in Dutch
Map reference for Stjerneborg: Van der Krogt 2, P-Brahe# 9:2
Map reference for (ground plan) Uraniaborg: Van der Krogt 2, P-Brahe# 3:2
From (for both): Grooten Atlas, oft Werelt- Beschryving, in welcke ‘t Aerdryck, de Zee, en Hemel, wort vertoont en beschreven. Amsterdam, J. Blaeu, 1664. Van der Krogt 2, 621
Exploring the cosmos
King Frederick II of Denmark offered to Tycho Brahe the island of Hven to build there an observatory. Brahe (1546-1601) had been a successful scientist and since 1572 he was employed at the observatory of the Herrevad Abbey in Scania (now southwestern Sweden, then Danish territory). Hven (at that moment Danish; now Swedish Ven) is an island in the Sound links the Kattegat (and the North Sea) and the Baltic Sea.
In fact Brahe built two observatories on the island: Between 1576 and 1581 he refurbished castle Uraniborg into an observatory. After completion of the astronomical observatory it turned out that the sensitive instruments in the towers moved to much in case of windy weather. Soon afterwards a new observatory was built underground and just next to Uraniborg: Stjerneborg (Castle of the Stars).
In 1595 Willem Blaeu arrived there as an apprentice to Brahe who taught him to make astronomical instruments and globes. On location Brahe built there massive sextants and quadrants.
Due to financial savings Brahe left Hven in 1597 and settled in Prague.
Willem’s son, Joan, added some views of the observatory sites to his Atlas Maior as a tribute to his father. The first picture shows Stjerneborg: “A” was the entrance. Underground room “C” served as the study of the large circles of the equator. In room “E” the space circles of the zodiac were investigated. Stjerneborg still exists and serves as a museum and showroom for multimedia applications.
The second view shows a ground plan of Uraniborg. The castle was destroyed in 1601; only the gardens bear witness to its past.
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