"Tycho and Johannes: The Gloriously Odd Couple of Astronomy"


by Wayne Spencer

The lives of Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe have provided us not only with a revolutionary view of the heavens, but also can still give us valuable lessons today about faith and reason. The decades following the death of Martin Luther in 1546 were years of controversy and conflict throughout Europe.  At that time, astronomy was not thought of as a quantitative discipline and gravity was not yet understood.  Superstitions and irrational fears often dominated the thinking of common people.  Galileo invented the first telescope during this period. In this setting, sundry and often chaotic circumstances bring together Johannes Kepler, a brilliant mathematician from a common family, and Tycho Brahe, a towering bombastic aristocrat whose one-of-a-kind private island observatory helped open new vistas to the heavens.  Kepler and Brahe were of very different personalities but they brought together complementary skills. Brahe took the role of an experimentalist and Kepler that of a theoretician.  Both men were Lutheran Protestants and had a conviction that God had created the universe with order and harmony. The order created in the planetary orbits, however, turned out to be different than what either of them expected. Such is the nature of heavenly glory. Both men take a personal journey of faith as astronomers who pointed the world away from superstition and toward reason and truth found in Christ.  

Wayne R. Spencer holds a master of science degree in physics from Wichita State University in Kansas. He is a former science teacher and has published peer-reviewed articles on a creationist view of planetary science. He also maintains the creationanswers.net website. His page can be found at: creation.com/wayne-spencer

Daniel Ray