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Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.
Portrait of William Herschel
NASA/JPL, California Institute of Technology.

William Herschel

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

Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. He also advanced our understanding of nebulae, the greenish, hazy clouds that surround dying stars. Herschel identified about 2,500 nebulae whereas only 100 nebulae had been found before him. He also founded stellar astronomy, the study of the region beyond our solar system. In fact, he found more than 800 binary stars, pairs of stars that orbit a common center of gravity.

At a time when scientific study focused on the planets and comets, Herschel suggested that the clusters of stars visible in the night sky were actually separate galaxies, similar to our own Milky Way.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA