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#924377 - 11/13/17 08:26 PM William Herschel -born 279 years ago!  
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Mona - Astronomy Offline
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A professional musician named William Herschel was the first person in history to discover a planet. Later, as a professional astronomer, Herschel studied the stars and deep space objects to try to understand “the construction of the heavens.” He was one of the fathers of modern astronomy.

William Herschel


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#924383 - 11/14/17 06:33 AM Re: William Herschel -born 279 years ago! [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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William Herschel was brilliant and hard-working, but he didn't conquer the Universe on his own. He got his siblings involved too.

The Herschels were one of the greatest astronomical families of all time. A partnership of two brothers and a sister built the best telescopes of their time, and with those telescopes mapped the deep sky. They changed the way astronomers understood the heavens.

Herschel Partnership - for Kids


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#924403 - 11/15/17 06:00 AM Re: William Herschel -born 279 years ago! [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Herschel didn't discover the planet Uranus until 1781, so he was over forty when he began his career as an astronomer. Before he became one of history's greatest astronomers, he was a musician, as was his father, his brothers and his nephews. William played several instruments and was also a composer. In fact, there is an entry for him in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Here is his Symphony No.14 in D-major (1762). It's about twelve minutes long.


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#924481 - 11/18/17 05:38 AM Re: William Herschel -born 279 years ago! [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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With the assistance of his sister Caroline, William Herschel carried out the very first all-sky survey of nebulae. In those days, nebulae were any fuzzy blobs that had a fixed position. (Ones that moved were comets!) Telescopes weren't good enough to resolve them properly. Today we know that true nebulae are giant gas clouds, but then star clusters and other galaxies were also counted as nebulae.

The catalog that the Herschels prepared contained about 2500 nebulae. It was the starting point for the New General Catalogue which Dreyer prepared nearly a century later. That is still in use - look for objects whose number is prefixed with NGC.

Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 11/19/17 01:38 PM.

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#924520 - 11/19/17 01:42 PM Re: William Herschel -born 279 years ago! [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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What's hiding within an impenetrable dark cloud in the constellation of the Eagle? A stunning stellar nursery. Find out how the Herschel Space Observatory was able to photograph it.

What Herschel Found in a Dark Cloud

William Herschel discovered infrared radiation. ESO named their infrared observatory in his honor and that of his assistant, his sister Caroline.


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#924554 - 11/20/17 07:08 PM Re: William Herschel -born 279 years ago! [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Mona, Music and Science go hand in hand.

Originally Posted By Mona - Astronomy
Herschel didn't discover the planet Uranus until 1781, so he was over forty when he began his career as an astronomer. Before he became one of history's greatest astronomers, he was a musician, as was his father, his brothers and his nephews. William played several instruments and was also a composer. In fact, there is an entry for him in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Here is his Symphony No.14 in D-major (1762). It's about twelve minutes long.

#924562 - 11/21/17 03:10 AM Re: William Herschel -born 279 years ago! [Re: Angie]  
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Yes, Angie, you're spot on with the music-science connection. Especially astronomy. In the classical graeco-roman world an educated person would study the trivium subjects of grammar, rhetoric and logic. In mediaeval times a well-educated person would also study the quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy.

A few years ago I wrote about some Musical Astronomers - including the Herschels, of course.

Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 11/21/17 03:11 AM.

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