Caroline Herschel, German astronomer

Caroline Herschel, German astronomer

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), German-born British astronomer and sister of Sir William Herschel. Caroline Herschel was born in Hannover, Germany, but moved to England to join her brother in 1772. Both brother and sister gave up successful musical careers for the sake of their all-consuming interest in astronomy. Caroline never married and submerged herself almost completely in her brother's career. She would spoon-feed William during the long hours of grinding a telescope mirror and take notes for him in his observatory. Caroline also observed the heavens with her own small telescope, discovering eight new comets. She was the first important female astronomer. This 1848 artwork was the frontispiece to her biography.

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