FunWho discovered Uranus?

Who discovered Uranus?

There is something in the sky that forces a man to look up in admiration and curiosity . That sensation was the one that William Herschel lived for years, a German-British musician who on March 13, 1781 and with knowledge of astronomy typical of an amateur, discovered to the world a seventh planet beyond Saturn .

From a good family, William Herschel inherited the profession of music from his father, played numerous instruments and was a consecrated luthier . His interest in this field made him study mathematics to understand its relationship with acoustics and later he would also study physics and optics . In 1773 he bought a book on astronomy by James Ferguson and was fascinated by this discipline.

Using telescopes made by himself, the indicated March night detected a celestial object different from the stars he had already observed and larger . Although it was initially taken to be a comet because it was moving over the fixed background of stars, Herschel soon observed that its displacement was long and circular . The Royal Society of London confirmed to him that it was a new planet, the first observed since ancient times that was not visible to the naked eye. Before long it would use another even more powerful telescope to discover two of its moons, Titania and Oberon .

Herschel named the newly discovered planet ‘ Georgium Sidus’ (Planet George) in honor of King George III, who welcomed him into his court after the discovery. However, the international community and the great astronomy scholars showed their discontent because the name was “too English” and broke with the tradition followed until then of using mythological names for the planets. It was the German Johan Bode who proposed the name Uranus. According to mythology, Zeus (Jupiter) is the son of Cronos (Saturn) and this in turn is the son of Caelus (Uranus) so this name seemed very appropriate and respected the custom. Although the international community accepted the change, in the British Isles the seventh planet would continue to be known as Georgium Sidus until 1850, after the death of George III.

The planet discovered by William Herschel is the third largest in the Solar System and is characterized by its powerful light blue hue . The time it takes to orbit the Sun is 84 years and, like Saturn, it has rings around it, but these are much narrower and less visible .

Herschel’s discovery revolutionized the scientific world of the time and made him one of the most important and recognized figures in astronomy . After this, he was able to leave music and focus all his time on the study of the sky and the manufacture of telescopes. He came to build one of the largest telescopes of the time that was 1.22m in diameter and a 12m long tube . His lenses and mirrors became one of the most efficient in the world and he understood, before many, that the future of cosmic observation depended on reflecting telescopes (they use mirrors) and not on refractors (they use lenses) .

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