Discoverers of the Universe: William and Caroline Herschel

Discoverers of the Universe William and Caroline Herschel Discoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel the brilliant fiercely ambitious emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain s King Geo

  • Title: Discoverers of the Universe: William and Caroline Herschel
  • Author: Michael Hoskin
  • ISBN: 9780691148335
  • Page: 443
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Discoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel, the brilliant, fiercely ambitious, emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain s King George III, and of William s sister, Caroline, who assisted him in his observations of the night sky and became an accomplished astronomer in her own right Together, they transfDiscoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel, the brilliant, fiercely ambitious, emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain s King George III, and of William s sister, Caroline, who assisted him in his observations of the night sky and became an accomplished astronomer in her own right Together, they transformed our view of the universe from the unchanging, mechanical creation of Newton s clockmaker god to the ever evolving, incredibly dynamic cosmos that it truly is William was in his forties when his amateur observations using a homemade telescope led to his discovery of Uranus, and an invitation to King George s court He coined the term asteroid, discovered infrared radiation, was the first to realize that our solar system is moving through space, discovered 2,500 nebulae that form the basis of the catalog astronomers use today, and was unrivalled as a telescope builder Caroline shared William s passion for astronomy, recording his observations during night watches and organizing his papers for publication She was the first salaried woman astronomer in history, a pioneer who herself discovered nine comets and became a role model for women in the sciences Written by the world s premier expert on the Herschels, Discoverers of the Universe traces William and Caroline s many extraordinary contributions to astronomy, shedding new light on their productive but complicated relationship, and setting their scientific achievements in the context of their personal struggles, larger than life ambitions, bitter disappointments, and astonishing triumphs.

    One thought on “Discoverers of the Universe: William and Caroline Herschel”

    1. It is 3 a.m. on a damp and freezing night in the tiny English village of Slough. Just three miles north, in Windsor Castle, King George III lays sleeping. The night is moonless and billions of stars brilliantly pulsate from the heavens. All is silence and slumber, and then, a strange phantasm - twenty feet above his garden, a man sits on a platform, his eyes trained on the upper end of a monstrous telescope of his own making. An assistant stands below him, ready to move it at his command. A weak [...]

    2. A short but very satisfying account of the Herschel sibling and the start of modern astronomy. A little dry in places, but generally enjoyable, and informative. The author filled a number of gaps in my knowledge of this important part of the history of astronomy. Especially recommended for astronomy enthusiasts.

    3. The bare bones of the story of William Herschel are well known. A German musician who came to England, took up astronomy, and discovered the planet Uranus. Oh yes, and he had a sister who helped him out a bit. True, but as Michael Hoskin’s delightful book makes clear, not the whole story. The first clue is given by the plural in the title. Although Caroline Herschel was definitely number two in the partnership, equally definitely it was a team, and William could never have achieved as much as [...]

    4. This book is informative and entertaining, there are a few funny parts in it as well, since Herschel's life did have it's funny moments in it. But it's also an excellent overview of both William and Caroline Herschel's life and work.

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