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John Herschel, British astronomer

John Herschel, British astronomer

H408/0354

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Credit

SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

John Herschel (1792-1871), British astronomer and chemist. John was the son of the great astronomer Sir William Herschel and continued his father's work, studying nebulae and double stars. He set up an observatory at Cape Colony, South Africa, where he mapped the southern skies and discovered that the Magellanic Clouds are composed of stars. On his return to England, he worked on the chemistry of photography, coining the phrase 'photographic negative' and being the first to use the chemical sodium thiosulphate (hypo) as a fixing agent. He was also the first person to produce a photograph on a glass plate and to apply photography to astronomy.

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