Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Herschel Sir William

Herschel, Sir William (1738-1822), was the son of a Hanoverian musician, and at fourteen entered the band of the Hanoverian Guards. In 1757 he came to England, and was commissioned to form a military band, and did duty as an organist at Bath, where he also conducted concerts. He gave his leisure to mathematics and astronomy, and set about making a telescope of five feet, which he finished in 1774, going on to construct others of seven, ten, and even twenty feet. He gradually withdrew himself from the musical profession, and in 1779 began to observe, with his 7-in. telescope, the planet Uranus, at first called Georgium Sidus, in honour of the king, who granted him a pension.

In 1787 he finished his forty-feet telescope, and his observations with this leel to many notable discoveries, among them being the discovery of volcanic mountains in the Moon, Saturn's satellites, and those of Uranus, the rotation of Saturn's rings, of Saturn, and of Venus, the existence of binary stars, and some facts as to Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. He was aided in his work by his sister Caroline, herself no mean astronomer, and by his brother, an optical-instrument maker. In 1802 he put before the Royal Society a catalogue of 5,000 new, nebulae, clusters, etc. His merits were recognised by the bestowal of knighthood and the degree of D.C.L.