Discovery of Uranus by Herschel, 1781

Discovery of Uranus by Herschel, 1781

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Discovery of Uranus on Tuesday 13 March 1781, recorded in written notes by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822). The previous day, he noted observations of Mars and Saturn. The following night he looked at the region around the star Pollux (Beta Geminorum), and noticed a 'curious either nebulous star or perhaps a comet'. Herschel, working in Bath at the time, reported this object to others, and further observations determined it was a new planet. This made Herschel famous. He received the Copley Medal, was elected to the Royal Society, and was appointed King's Astronomer by George III.

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