Discover a dynasty of scientists who contributed uniquely to astronomy, from making telescopes to charting the Milky Way.
William Herschel was the first to use discover an entirely new planet using a telescope, Uranus, first spotted on 13 March 1781.
As you can discover in this letter to the Royal Society, he initially believed that the object was a comet but further evidence convinced him that this must be a planetary body. The discovery was truly sensational and made Herschel internationally famous.
This profile portrait of William Herschel FRS was engraved after an original drawing by Louise du Piery (1746-1807).
Du Piery was an astronomer in her own right, a pupil of the holder of the chair of astronomy at the College de France Jérôme Lalande (1732-1807) and the first female Professor of the Sorbonne, teaching astronomy to female pupils.
The Herschel's scientific legacy was carried out by several of John's children.
For instance, Alexander Stewart Herschel FRS (1836-1907) identified comets as the source of meteor showers and Colonel John Herschel FRS (1837-1921) who contributed various astronomical observations. Colonel Herschel donated his father's correspondence to the Royal Society.
Come to our archives to discover more on this extraordinary scientific dynasty.
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