John Herschel

Neptune, Oceanos, or ‘Le Verrier’ – How to name a new planet?

Neptune, Oceanos, or ‘Le Verrier’ – How to name a new planet?

On June 9, 1812, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle was born. Also in Germany hardly anybody might know Galle today. Well, maybe except most astronomers, who will certainly know him, because he has discovered the planet Neptune. No, he didn’t do it all by himself. Actually, we’ve had already several articles on astronomers involved in the discovery of Neptune [5,6,7] Johann Gottfried Galle originally had sent a copy of his PhD thesis, in…
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Photographic Pioneer Henry Fox Talbot

Photographic Pioneer Henry Fox Talbot

On February 11, 1800, Henry Fox Talbot, British inventor and photography pioneer was born, who invented the calotype process, a precursor to photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like other pioneers of early photography, Talbot not only was occupied with the processing technology, but also is known as an photographic artist. Moreover, Talbot‘s talents also extended to mathematics, astronomy, and archaeology. Actually, he even participated in the translation of the…
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Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

On June 18, 1922, Dutch astronomer Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn passed away. Kapteyn carried out extensive studies of the Milky Way and was the discoverer of evidence for galactic rotation. He used photography and statistical methods in determining the motions and spatial distribution of stars, the first major step after the works of William and John Herschel. Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn was born on 19 January 1851 in Barneveld,in the Dutch province of Gelderland,…
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Anna Atkins – Botanist and Photographer

Anna Atkins – Botanist and Photographer

On March 16, 1799, English botanist and photographer Anna Atkins was born. She is often considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. Morover, she is also considered by some for being the first woman to create a photograph. Anna Atkins was born in Tonbridge, Kent, England. Unfortunately her mother Hester Anne Children soon after Anna’s birth in 1800. Anna’s father John George Children was a respected scientist,…
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John Herschel – a Pioneer in Celestial Photography

John Herschel – a Pioneer in Celestial Photography

On March 7, 1792, English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, and experimental photographer Sir John Herschel was born. Herschel originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy and named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus. He made many contributions to the science of photography, and investigated colour blindness and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays. Overall, he advocated an inductive approach to scientific experiment and theory building,…
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William Parsons and his Very Large Telescopes

William Parsons and his Very Large Telescopes

On June 17, 1800, Irish astronomer William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, was born. As an astronomer, he had several telescopes built, among them his 72-inch telescope, built in 1845 and colloquially known of as the “Leviathan of Parsonstown“, which was the world’s largest telescope, in terms of aperture size, until the early 20th century. In 1848, he found and named the Crab Nebula (because he thought it resembled a crab), by which name…
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Sir William Herschel and the Discovery of Uranus

Sir William Herschel and the Discovery of Uranus

On March 13, 1781, Sir William Herschel for the first time observed planet Uranus while in the garden of his house at 19 New King Street in the town of Bath, Somerset, England (now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy), but initially reported it (on April 26, 1781) as a “comet“. William Herschel grew up in the Electorate of Hanover, which was part of the Holy Roman Empire, but moved to a refuge…
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The Great Moon Hoax

The Great Moon Hoax

On September 16, 1835, the New York Sun concedes that her serial article about the sensational discoveries of astronomer Sir John Herschel about the Moon was only a hoax to increase their circulation. In the history of newspaper this scandal is referred to as ‘The Great Moon Hoax of 1835‘. The six articles, starting on August 25, 1835 consisted of stories about fantastic creatures living on the moon. They were compared with…
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Charles Babbage – The Father of the Computer who hated Street Music

Charles Babbage – The Father of the Computer who hated Street Music

Drawing of Charles Babbage‘s famous Difference Engine On October 18, 1871, Charles Babbage, mathematician, inventor and early computer scientist passed away. We think, everybody should know about Charles Babbage and his seminal work on the first mechanical universal computer, the Analytical Engine. Although the Analytical Engine never was build during his lifetime, due to the lack of according fine mechanics in the 19th century, Babbage sketched out everything necessary to construct and…
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