Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (previously at Neatorama) catalogued more than a thousands stars before the telescope was invented. For his service, King Frederick II of Denmark gave him an island to use for his studies. There, Brahe had an observatory built, which he called Uraniborg. It may seem strange to have an astronomical observatory with no telescope, but he had other instruments, and a stable spot to observe the heavens was a boon to his studies. Uraniborg was a walled haven with a strictly laid out geometrical design. It had observation points, towers, a fruit orchard, and an herb garden. It also had a three-story house with living quarters on the ground floor, and a second floor for Brahe’s 16th-century astronomical instruments: astrolabe, quadrant, sextant, and armillary sphere. The third floor was for students. Oh yeah, there was an alchemy lab in the basement. Science was going through some changes.
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A change in the monarchy left Brahe without the funds to run Uraniborg, and it was abandoned, then destroyed after Brahe’s death. But archaeological excavations in the 1950s unearthed enough of the original foundation that it has been partially restored and recreated. Read about the observatory without a telescope at Amusing Planet.