1750 - 1848

Discoverer of comets

Actively discouraged from learning and trained as a house servant by her mother, Caroline Herschel’s brother, William Herschel, a musician and the astronomer who discovered Uranus, was instrumental in allowing her to get an education. Both Herschels were active in building telescopes that were technically superior to those available at the time, allowing them to discover many unknown celestial objects.

Between 1786 and 1797, Caroline discovered eight comets. She also developed a new catalogue of the heavens organized by north polar distance and spent 20 months correcting the standard star catalogue of the time.

She became the first woman in England to receive a salary for her scientific work and was honoured by the King of Prussia and the Royal Astronomical Society for her astronomical work.

-> Caroline Herschel's biography is available at ETH Zurich Library @swisscovery

Written by: Gina Cannarozzi.