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An Important Musician In Astronomy

Sir William Herschel

Many will remember William Herschel as the one who found planet Uranus. This founding was shocking and revolutionary. After all, Uranus was the first star found by humans for a long time. Nevertheless, there are many more interesting things one can say about William Herschel. For one, he did not train to be an astronomer. His father was a musician for army, and William Herschel followed his father’s footsteps to be a musician. His early life was tumultuous as he had to feel his fatherland of Germany to England. His talent in music allowed to him to quickly to earn a career in England. However, his curiosity pushed him further. William Herschel started to be interested in telescopes and observations of the sky. He did not satisfy himself with simply observing objects that were close to the Earth. Instead, he was determined to see further. Therefore, he began to make his own telescopes. After much effort, he was able to make telescopes that were more powerful than some observatories. With a superior size, his telescope offered him higher resolution and more magnifications. It was this telescope that enabled him to find Uranus. He thus decided to become a professional astronomer at the age of 43. His dedication for astronomy was unparalleled. He tried to observe every night. When weather conditions were not optimal, he asked a watch man to wake him up as soon as weather cleared. Such dedication combined with his ability to make high quality telescopes allowed him to record abundant data. Therefore, besides finding Uranus, Herschel also observed binary star systems. He spent much time watching star nebulae and proposed ideas of star clusters and island universes. He was indeed a very important figure in the history of astronomy.



One thought on “An Important Musician In Astronomy

  1. This is an incredible story. It really sounds like his work ethic was unmatched. I think that intelligence can come from anywhere. This man did not have a background in astronomy, and did not even become an astronomer until age 43, but became famous and successful for discovering a very important planet! I also read online that he discovered Uranus’ two brightest moons (Titania and Oberon), Saturn’s moons Mimas and Enceladus, the ice caps of Mars, and cataloged over 2,500 deep sky object. Sounds like a very impressive career. Also, what do you think his music sounded like?


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