21st out of 63 books — 21 voters
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Discoverers of the Universe: William and Caroline Herschel
Discoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel, the brilliant, fiercely ambitious, emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain's King George III, and of William's sister, Caroline, who assisted him in his observations of the night sky and became an accomplished astronomer in her own right. Together, they transf ...more
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published January 30th 2011 by Princeton University Press
(first published January 1st 2011)
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A short but very satisfying account of the Herschel sibling and the start of modern astronomy. A little dry in places, but generally enjoyable, and informative. The author filled a number of gaps in my knowledge of this important part of the history of astronomy. Especially recommended for astronomy enthusiasts.
The bare bones of the story of William Herschel are well known. A German musician who came to England, took up astronomy, and discovered the planet Uranus. Oh yes, and he had a sister who helped him out a bit. True, but as Michael Hoskin’s delightful book makes clear, not the whole story.
The first clue is given by the plural in the title. Although Caroline Herschel was definitely number two in the partnership, equally definitely it was a team, and William could never have achieved as much as he ...more