Tycho Brahe

Tycho's Observatory at Uraniborg

"[On November 11], a little before dinner ... I was returning to the house, and during my walk contemplating the sky here and there since the clearer sky seemed to be just what could be wished for in order to continue observations after dinner. Behold! Directly overhead, a certain strange star was suddenly visible, flashing its light with a radiant gleam... Amazed, and as if astonished and stupified, I stood still, gazing for a while with my eyes fixed intently on it and noticing that same star placed close to the stars which antiquity attributed to Cassiopeia. When I had satisfied myself that no star of that kind have ever shone forth before, I was led into such perplexity by the unbelievability of the thing that I began to doubt the faith of my own eyes. And so, turning to the servants who were accompanying me, I asked them whether they too could see a certain extremely bright star when I pointed out the place directly overhead. They immediately replied with one voice that they saw it completely and that it was extremely bright. But despite their affirmation, and still being doubtful on account of the novelty of the thing, I inquired of some country people who by chance were travelling past in carriages whether they could see a certain star there. Indeed, these people shouted out that they saw that huge star, which had never been noticed so high up. And at length, having confirmed that my vision was not deceiving me, but in fact that an unusual star existed there, beyond all type, and marveling that the sky had brought forth a certain new phenomenon to be compared with the other stars, immediately I got ready my instrument. I began to measure its location and distance from the neighboring stars in Cassiopeia, and to note extremely diligently those things which were visible to the eye, concerning its apparent size, form, color, and other aspects."