Did you know that William Herschel was born today in 1738? He was a famous astronomer. He studied the planets, double stars, nebula, the Milky Way galaxy, and more. Some of his discoveries include the planet Uranus, 2 of Uranus’ moons, 2 of Saturn’s moons, and infrared radiation in sunlight. He built more than 400 telescopes. The largest was 40 feet long and almost 50 inches in diameter!
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William Herschel was also a music composer. He wrote symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and more. He was appointed as an organist and then as the director of the orchestra in Bath. His brothers were also musicians.
William Herschel also used microscopes to show that coral were not plants, since they did not have the same characteristics, such as cell walls, common to plants.
The astrological symbol for the planet Uranus contains the capital letter ‘H’, to honor Herschel.
Many of William Herschel’s telescopes did not use a Newtonian reflector (a small diagonal mirror) to direct light. The mirrors of the day had poor reflectivity. Instead, the Herschelian telescopes were tilted to form images directly. He was also one of the first to use astronomical spectrophotometry, or the use of light signatures to categorize and investigate stars and other objects in space.