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William Herschel

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John Frederick William Herschel 1738-1822

Sir John Frederick William Herschel, KH, FRS (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel; Born::November 15, 1738Died::August 25, 1822) was German-born English astronomer and one of the pioneers of modern astronomy.

Degrees and Discoveries

Herschel became an astronomer. He improved the telescope and discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. Herschel also discovered two more moons of Saturn — Mimas and Enceladus. He was knighted in 1816 and received every honor the scientific world could bestow. And he became the first president of the newly formed Astronomical Society of London.

Christian Beliefs

Herschel was a Christian. He believed that God's universe was characterized by order and planning. His discovery of that order led him to conclude that "the undevout astronomer must be mad" and when he discovered Uranus, he showed that the laws that govern our earth and moon are the same throughout the heavens.

In his diary, Herschel wrote:

The difference was occasioned by an exclamation of the First Consul’s, who asked in a tone of exclamation or admiration (when we were speaking of the extent of the sidereal heavens) ‘and who is the author of all this.’ M. de La Place wished to shew that a chain of natural causes would account for the construction and preservation of the wonderful system; this the First Consul rather opposed. Much may be said on the subject; by joining the arguments of both we shall be led to ‘Nature and Nature’s God.’

Another famous quote of William Herschel is:

"Time! Time! Time! — we must not impugn the Scripture Chronology, but we must interpret it in accordance with whatever shall appear on fair inquiry to be the truth for there cannot be two truths. And really there is scope enough: for the lives of the Patriarchs may as reasonably be extended to 5,000 or 50,000 years apiece as the days of Creation to as many thousand millions of years." — John Frederick William Herschel

Astronomical Discoveries

[[Discovery::{{#ask:Discoverer::William Herschel|link=none|limit=250|sep=| ]][[Discovery::}}| ]] {{#ask:Discoverer::William Herschel |?Date of discovery |?Primary |?Semi-major axis |?Sidereal period |sort=Date of discovery,Primary,Semi-major axis |order=asc |format=table |mainlabel=Name |intro = List of celestial bodies discovered by William Herschel: |}}

Related References: