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Tycho Brahe result postponed

A lack of funding has postponed the results of an investigation into the Danish astronomer’s death.

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The results of a Danish-Czech-Swedish examination of fragments of the earthly remains of the 16th century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe has had to be postponed until 2012 due to a lack of funding, according to Prof. Jens Vellev who is leading the project.

Tycho Brahe’s remains were exhumed from the Church of Our Lady in front of Týn in Prague last November, allowing specimens of bone, teeth and hair to be removed before the coffin was reinterred in the church.

Mystery has surrounded the death of the Danish astronomer and alchemist since his death in 1601 and it is hoped that the analyses will definitively determine whether Brahe died of uremia or as a result of mercury poisoning. Murder suspicions were raised when a Swedish professor found a diary some years ago in which a distant relation to Tycho Brahe suggested the astronomer had been poisoned.

A previous examination of Brahe’s hair, retrieved in a previous exhumation in 1901, showed traces of mercury taken shortly before his death.

The results of the examination are to be presented by the team of Danish, Czech and Swedish researchers, but as Vellev has only been funded for 2011, he is having to find new funding in order to conclude the investigation.

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