London, Jan 23 (ANI): Over 400 years after the death of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, Prague scientists are speculating that he was murdered by a contract killer.
A team of experts from Denmark have asked the authorities for permission to open and explore the grave of Brahe who died in Prague in 1601.
They are hoping to learn more about one of the most famous scholars of the time - and perhaps to throw more light on his mysterious death.
Brahe was the first astronomer to describe a supernova, in 1572. He is also famous for his incredibly accurate measurements of celestial movements in the pre-telescope era.
It is believed that the wealthy nobleman wore a prosthetic nose of gold and silver after losing his own at the age of 20 in a rapier duel resulting from a row over a mathematical formula, reports The Times.
According to scholars, Brahe was poisoned with mercury on the orders of Christian IV, the King of Denmark, because the astronomer had an affair with his mother.
It is even suggested that Shakespeare used the alleged liaison as an inspiration for Hamlet.
The scientist, who served as personal astrologer of King Friedrich II of Denmark, was respected across Europe.
When the King died and Christian IV, his 19-year-old son, ascended the throne, Brahe fell from grace and left the country. In 1597 he settled in Prague, where he became the court astrologist of Emperor Rudolph II of Habsburg, but died soon after, aged 57.
A popular legend has it that his bladder burst after his good manners would not allow him to leave a banquet before the emperor did.
Now, according to Danish historian Peter Andersen, who is based in France, says a recent discovery confirmed what he had long suspected.
"I had suspicions against the Danish king but I didn't know how exactly Tycho was killed. I couldn't prove anything. But then some years ago, I found in a library in Stockholm a diary that belonged to a Swedish diplomat, Erik Brahe," he said.
Professor Andersen has claimed that King Christian IV used the Swedish diplomat to get rid of Tycho, and had him poisoned by mercury.
Last year, the expert had found the diary of the alleged murderer, in which he records many meetings with Hans, the brother of Christian IV, on whose orders he is believed to have gone to Prague to murder his cousin.
Professor Andersen believes that his cousin slipped mercury into Brahe's drink.
Also, tests on his hair showed mercury levels one hundred times above normal as a result of ingesting a large quantity of the liquid metal about 13 hours before his death, coinciding with the visit from his cousin. (ANI)