Scientists open tomb of medieval astronomer Tycho Brahe

15-11-2010

Czech archaeologists on Monday opened the tomb of the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe at the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn near Prague’s Old Town Square. Danish scientists have requested the exhumation of the astronomer’s remains in the hope of clarifying the mysterious circumstances of his death at Emperor Rudolf’s court in 1601. They believe Brahe may have been murdered in Prague at the behest of the Danish King Christian IV. Samples of the astronomer’s hair and beard taken during a previous exhumation in 1901 revealed a high level of mercury in his remains, suggesting he may have been poisoned. If the remains are in a condition that would afford DNA samples, the casket will be transported to the anthropological depository of the National Museum for further study. The exhumation has sparked enormous media interest attracting more than 100 journalists to the Czech capital. The scientists are expected to give a news conference on Friday.