William Herschel KH
(1738-1822)

Died aged c. 84

Frederick William Herschel, KH, FRS (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel; 15 November 1738 – 25 August 1822) was a British astronomer and composer of German origin, and brother of fellow astronomer Caroline Herschel, with whom he worked. Born in the Electorate of Hanover, Herschel followed his father into the Military Band of Hanover, before migrating to Great Britain in 1757 at the age of nineteen. Herschel constructed his first large telescope in 1774, after which he spent nine years carrying out sky surveys to investigate double stars. The resolving power of the Herschel telescopes revealed that the nebulae in the Messier catalogue were clusters of stars. Herschel published catalogues of nebulae in 1802 (2,500 objects) and in 1820 (5,000 objects). In the course of an observation on 13 March 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 and Herschel became famous overnight. As a result of this discovery, George III appointed him Court Astronomer. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and grants were provided for the construction of new telescopes. Herschel pioneered the use of astronomical spectrophotometry as a diagnostic tool, using prisms and temperature measuring equipment to measure the wavelength distribution of stellar spectra. Other work included an improved determination of the rotation period of Mars, the discovery that the Martian polar caps vary seasonally, the discovery of Titania and Oberon (moons of Uranus) and Enceladus and Mimas (moons of Saturn). In addition, Herschel discovered infrared radiation. Herschel was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order in 1816. He was the first President of the Royal Astronomical Society when it was founded in 1820. He died in August 1822, and his work was continued by his only son, John Herschel.

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Commemorated on 3 plaques

gnomonic on Flickr
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gnomonic on Flickr

Here lived Scientist and Musician Sir William Herschel 1738-1822 from where he found the planet Uranus, March 13th 1781 he also discovered Infrared radiation in 1800 ~ and his sister Caroline Herschel early woman scientist 1750-1848 Hunter of comets

19 New King Street, Bath, United Kingdom where they lived and found the planet Uranus

Revd John Michell BD. FRS 1724-1793 geologist and astronomer. Rector of Thornhill 1767 - 1793. He experimented on magnetism and astronomy, also making a Torsion balance to weigh the world. His visitors here included Henry Cavendish, William Herschel, Joseph Priestley and John Smeaton.

Thornhill Parish Church, Church Ln, Thornhill, Dewsbury, United Kingdom where they visited

Here lived William Herschel A.D. 1781.

19 New King Street, Bath, United Kingdom where they lived (1781)