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November 19 2012 (updated November 20 2012)

Astronomer Tycho Brahe 'not poisoned', says expert


The 16th-Century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe is unlikely to have been poisoned, according to a researcher studying his remains. The body was exhumed in 2010 in a bid to confirm the cause of his death.

Brahe was thought to have died of a bladder infection, but a previous exhumation found traces of mercury in hair from his beard. However, the most recent tests have found the levels of mercury were not high enough to have killed him.

Some have speculated that he was killed on the orders of the Danish king, or by fellow astronomer Johannes Kepler, who also later gained fame.

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