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Portrait of William Herschel
NASA/JPL, California Institute of Technology.

William Herschel

William Herschel was born in Germany and lived in England as he worked as an astronomer. He lived between 1738-1822. He built high magnification telescopes that let him observe the heavens with greater detail.

Herschel discovered the planet Uranus and advanced our understanding of nebulae, the hazy clouds that surround dying stars. He also founded stellar astronomy, the study of the region beyond our own solar system. Our modern sense of a galaxy's shape is very similar to what Herschel had proposed hundreds of years earlier.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF