Hamlet may have poisoned stargazer Tycho Brahe in mercury murder

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A murder mystery involving royal intrigues and an eccentric scientist with a golden nose could be resolved after 400 years when researchers open the tomb of Tycho Brahe, the Danish astronomer, in the light of new evidence that he was murdered by a contract killer.

Archeologists are waiting for permission to open the tomb in the Tyn Cathedral, one of the landmarks of the Old Town in Prague. Brahe, the first astronomer to describe a supernova, in 1572, is also famous for his incredibly accurate measurements of celestial movements in the pre-telescope era and for having catalogued more than 1,000 new stars.

The wealthy nobleman is said to have worn 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.

A new theory by Danish scholars claims that 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.

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