William and Caroline Herschel

11 Nov, 2021 520 Astronomy

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss William Herschel (1738 - 1822) and his sister Caroline Herschel (1750 - 1848) who were born in Hanover and made their reputation in Britain. William was one of the most eminent astronomers in British history. Although he started life as a musician, as a young man he became interested in studying the night sky. With an extraordinary talent, he constructed telescopes that were able to see further and more clearly than any others at the time. He is most celebrated today for discovering the planet Uranus and detecting what came to be known as infrared radiation. Caroline also became a distinguished astronomer, discovering several comets and collaborating with her brother.

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  • Monica Grady 9 episodes
    Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University
  • Carolin Crawford 19 episodes
    Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge and an Emeritus Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge
  • Jim Bennett 11 episodes
    Keeper Emeritus at the Science Museum in London

Reading list

  • Comets, Cosmology and the Big Bang: A History of Astronomy from Edmond Halley to Edwin Hubble
    Allan Chapman (Lion Books, 2018) Google Books →
  • The Telescope: A Short History
    Richard Dunn (Conway, 2011) Google Books →
  • Discoverers of the Universe: William and Caroline Herschel
    Michael Hoskin (Princeton University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Construction of the Heavens: William Herschel's Cosmology
    Michael Hoskin (Cambridge University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • The Georgian Star: How William and Caroline Herschel Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Cosmos
    Michael Lemonick (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m0011c4p

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011c4p

Auto-category: 520 (Astronomy and allied sciences)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, William Herschel, 1738 to 1822, is one of the most eminent astronomers in British history.