On This Day

William Herschel

Astronomer William Herschel

Profession: Astronomer

United Kingdom

Biography: Starting in 1774, Herschel spent nine years carrying out thorough sky surveys.

In 1781, he realized that one celestial body he had observed was not a star, but a planet, Uranus. This was the first planet to be discovered since antiquity.

As a result of this discovery, George III appointed him "Court Astronomer". Later he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Born: November 15, 1738
Birthplace: Hanover, Brunswick-L√ľneburg, Holy Roman Empire
Star Sign: Scorpio

Died: August 25, 1822 (aged 83)

Historical Events

  • 1774-03-04 First sighting of Orion nebula by William Herschel
  • 1780-05-02 William Herschel discovers 1st binary star, Xi Ursae Majoris
  • 1781-03-13 William Herschel sees what he thinks is a "comet" but is actually the discovery of the planet Uranus
  • 1783-02-01 William Herschel announces star Lambda Herculis as apex
  • 1783-05-04 William Herschel reports seeing a red glow near lunar crater Aristarchus
  • 1787-01-11 Titania & Oberon, moons of Uranus, discovered by William Herschel
  • 1789-08-28 William Herschel discovers Saturn's moon Enceladus
  • 1789-09-17 William Herschel discovers Mimas, satellite of Saturn
  • 1819-07-04 William Herschel makes last telescopic observation of 1819 comet

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