Sir William Herschel was a German-born British musician who became interested in astronomy later in life and built his own telescopes. It was with one of these instruments that Herschel discovered Uranus in 1781.
Herschel's discovery brought him many honours and allowed him to become a fulltime astronomer employed by George III. He then studied Saturn and discovered the moons Enceladus and Mimas. He also discovered Uranus's moons Oberon and Titania and studied and catalogued double stars and nebulae.
Photo: Portrait of William Herschel (Science Source/Science Photo Library)
The German-born British astronomer discovers Uranus.
Patrick Moore describes the asteroid belt and its discovery.
Sir Patrick Moore explains how the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter was discovered. He also talks about Bode's Law, an 18th century empirical rule that was once thought to predict planets' orbits. It is now discredited by astronomers, including Sir Patrick.
The British astronomer concludes that Mars has seasons and inhabitants.
The 18th and early 19th century German-born British astronomer Sir William Herschel observed Mars's poles and noticed that they grew and shrank over the course of a year. Herschel correctly concluded that Mars has seasons, though he was wrong about Mars having inhabitants and a substantial atmosphere.
Frederick William Herschel,KH, FRS (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel; 15 November 1738 – 25 August 1822) was a Hanoverian-born British astronomer, technical expert, composer, and brother of Caroline Herschel. Born in the Electorate of Hanover, Herschel followed his father into the Military Band of Hanover, before migrating to Great Britain at the age of nineteen. He became famous for his discovery of the planet Uranus, along with two of its major moons, Titania and Oberon, and also discovered two moons of Saturn. In addition, he was the first person to discover the existence of infrared radiation. He is also known for the twenty-four symphonies, and many other musical pieces, that he composed.
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