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Caroline Herschel's telescope

William Herschel1795/1816

Science Museum

Science Museum

Dated to the start of the 19th century, this reflecting telescope was made by the famous astronomer William Herschel for his sister Caroline. She was William's lifelong observing assistant and an astronomer in her own right, having discovered eight comets.

Her telescope has a 7-foot wooden tube and stand that is operated using pulley ropes and gears. The heart of the instrument is a 6-inch mirror made of speculum metal, a bronze alloy with arsenic added for a more reflective surface. The telescope is made of painted deal, a type of pine, and is thought to be similar to the one that William Herschel used to discover the planet Uranus in 1781.

Credit: Royal Astronomical Society
Object no: 1908-160

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Details

  • Title: Caroline Herschel's telescope
  • Creator: William Herschel
  • Date Created: 1795/1816
  • Location: Slough, UK

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