Sir William Herschel - August 25
- 2013 8 Aug
He discovered planet Uranus in 1781 and desired to name it after King George III, though others gave it his name, as Thomas Jefferson's wrote from Paris to John Page, August 20, 1785: "You will find in these the tables for the planet Herschel, as far as the observations hitherto made...You will see...that Herschel was...the first astronomer who discovered it to be a planet." Previously a music teacher and bandleader, Sir William Herschel identified double-stars, coined the word "asteroid," meaning star-like, discovered infrared radiation and constructed the largest reflecting telescopes of his day to catalogue thousands of nebulae and galaxies. Knighted by King George, he died in his observatory, AUGUST 25, 1822. Of the heavens, Sir William Herschel stated: "The undevout astronomer must be mad." His son, Sir John Frederick Herschel, took his father's telescope to the southern hemisphere where he catalogued hundreds of new stars and nebulae. Of the Bible, Sir John Frederick Herschel wrote: "All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths that come from on high and are contained in the Sacred Writings."