Responsible for the greatest advances in astronomy since Copernicus, William and Caroline Herschel forever transformed our view of the heavens.
In 1781, William Herschel won international fame for discovering Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. In documenting a new planet - something no one had done since the dawn of civilization - he expanded our perception that we are part of something much greater than the immediately visible solar system.Herschel remains most famous for this discovery, but, as The Georgian Star makes vividly clear, he accomplished much more. After a successful career as a professional musician, he turned his attention to astronomy in his mid-thirties. With his sister Caroline as a partner, he pioneered techniques that are still used by astronomers today. The Herschels were the first to map the night sky, listing and categorizing every object they could see. To do so, they built a massive, forty-foot-tall telescope under the patronage of King George III. They were also the first to propose that the visible stars surrounding our little planet are only a fraction of those that make up a continually evolving universe. William's restless intelligence led further still, to the discovery of infrared radiation - invisible radiation that has a wavelength longer than microwaves but shorter than that of visible light. Caroline assembled an exhaustive catalog of nebulae, the beautiful, cloudy assemblages of dust and stellar light.Erudite and accessible, The Georgian Star is a lively portrait of the pair who invented modern astronomy.