Herschel’s Telescope

Whole Object Name

Herschel’s Telescope

Collection

Space Oddities

Description

Model of the telescope that Sir William Herschel used to discover Uranus in 1781.

As the first 6 planets can all be seen by the naked eye, Uranus was the first planet that can be considered to have been ‘discovered’. Herschel’s first observations led him to believe it was a comet, but with further observation and subsequent work carried out by Anders Johan Lexell it was proven that he had ‘discovered’ the 7th Planet in the Solar System.

Herschel built the 7-foot telescope he ‘discovered’ Uranus with himself and was a prolific telescope builder throughout his life. He earnt a living as a musician but his discovery of Uranus resulted in him being appointed Court Astronomer by King George III. This allowed him to pursue astronomy full time. He originally named Uranus the ‘Georgian Star’ after George III, but this name was not popular elsewhere. It was renamed after the ancient Greek god of the sky, to fit in with the rest of the planets.

Object number

2001-16
  • image Model of Herschel's telescope
  • image Model of Herschel's telescope on display
  • image Model of Herschel's telescope on display
  • image Portrait of William Herschel by Lemuel Francis Abbott
  • image Model of Herschel's telescope
  • image Model of Herschel's telescope on display
  • image Model of Herschel's telescope on display
  • image Portrait of William Herschel by Lemuel Francis Abbott

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