Nebulae drawn by William Herschel, 1811

Nebulae drawn by William Herschel, 1811

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Caption: Nebulae drawn by the British astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822), published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1811. Herschel believed that these assorted nebulae could be different snapshots of an evolutionary sequence of gravitational collapse into one or more stars. He was the first to discover that most double stars are true binary stars, not merely optical doubles as previously thought, providing the first evidence that Newton's laws of gravitation apply outside the solar system.

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