John Flamsteed became the first Astronomer Royal on the founding of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in 1675. Coincidentally, like Johannes Hevelius he was the son of a prosperous brewer. As his career progressed, he increasingly identified himself with Tycho Brahe, whom he called 'the noble Tycho' or 'the noble Dane'.

Like his mentor, Flamsteed was devoted to astronomical measurement, was responsible for equipping and developing an observatory, received patronage from the king while also meeting many of his own costs, and was, he believed, beset by enemies and detractors. Officially called 'Astronomical Observator', Flamsteed preferred to style himself 'Mathematicus Regius' - Tycho had been 'Imperial Mathematician' in Prague. The engravings of the Royal Observatory and its instruments, commissioned by Flamsteed's patron Jonas Moore from Francis Place, were probably part of a scheme to publish an account of the observatory after the manner of Tycho's Mechanica.

As the first incumbent, Flamsteed had to fashion the image of the occupant of the Royal Observatory and Tycho, 'the greatest prince among astronomers', was a valuable resource. In seeking to assert an independent authority over his observations, Flamsteed could deploy the association between astronomy and nobility represented by Tycho. In an age more attracted to the construction of theories in astronomy, of which Newton's Principia was the outstanding example, Flamsteed attributed a higher morality to laying down a secure store of measurements than to following the uncertain and transient goal of theory. It was a judgement he believed he shared with his noble predecessor.

Eventually Flamsteed would also identify with Tycho in his tribulations. Forced by the Visitors to the Observatory to account for his performance and surrender his observations, he felt he had been treated 'worse than ever the noble Tycho was used in Denmark'. Not only did he see himself as Tycho, but he even began to call Edmond Halley, whom he saw as a dangerous enemy, by the name 'Raymer', after Tycho's own detractor Nicolai Reymers Ursus.