William and Caroline Herschel

William and Caroline Herschel: The Siblings Who Discovered Uranus. By Hannah Lawson
William and Caroline Herschel were a brother and sister team who studied the heavens.. William was the founder of sidereal astronomy. Caroline and William wanted to understand the universe better than anyone else before them.Together they examined the entire sky that was visible above England. Because of their monumental work for astronomy, William was knighted by King George the Third and Caroline was given a good medal from the King of Prussia. They both received a salary from the King for being the court astronomers. In fact, Caroline was the first professional woman astronomer to receive a pension from the royal family of England.
William was born on November 15, 1738 in Hanover, Germany. His full name at birth was Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel. His father, Isaac Herschel was a professional oboist and was an army musician. William played in the same name before he went to England in 1759. While there, he taught music and became an organist.
Caroline Herschel was born on March 16,1750. Her full name was Caroline Lucretia Herschel. As a child, she suffered from smallpox at age three and was struck with typhus at age ten. That illness left her with poor eyesight and stunted at four feet three inches. Her mother Anna Ilse Moritzen did not want her girls to be educated mistakenly thinking that since women were required to stay at home, they should not be educated. Isaac Herschel have her an informal education, teaching her to read and write. Caroline’s family was very musical so when William offered her an musical opportunity to live in England, she readily accepted. At age 22, she became her brother’s housekeeper in exchange for training to become a singer. Caroline took music, dancing and singing lessons. At age 27, she became a well known soprano singer.
Meanwhile, her brother William was devoting a lot of time to astronomy: the study of the heavens. He built his own telescope with Caroline’s help grinding mirrors and different lenses. William’s passion for astronomy increased as his passion for music dwindled. In 1781, during his third survey of the night sky, William and Caroline discovered Uranus and two of its moons Titania and Oberon. They also discovered two of Saturn’s moons Mimas and Enceladus. British scientist asked the King that William be paid to devote his life to astronomy especially in making more telescopes. He became a full time astronomer along with his sister. Caroline was unhappy because she loved to be a singer and being praised and loved by audiences.
Yet later, she resigned herself to the duty of helping her brother. In 1783, William finished building a superb 18 inch reflecting telescope with 20 feet focal length. He would systemically observe different areas of the sky, calling out sightings of nebulae and stars. Caroline would record observations to be published. Twenty years of hard work produced an increase of known nebulae from 100- 2,500.