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Who was the first person to measure distances to comets ?

Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer was the first person to estimate how far comets were. A bright comet which appeared in 1577 was seen through out Europe. Tycho Brahe decided to estimate whether this comet was closer to the earth than the moon. He measured the direction of the comet from his observatory in Hveen and compared with observations of other European astronomers, made at the same time. The answer he obtained astounded the scientific community. The comet was atleast four times further away than the moon ! This was completely contrary to beliefs based on Aristotle’s pronouncements. But one good observation is worth many pronouncements ! This and other meticulous observations by Tycho Brahe changed the course of astronomy.


Tycho Brahe

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