A Woman to Know: Caroline Herschel

However important man becomes, he is nothing compared to the stars. — Caroline

(image from Wellcome Library, London)

After William Herschel discovered Uranus in 1794, King George III began paying him an annual salary as "royal astronomer"— with added money to retain his sister Caroline as a telescope assistant. Caroline crafted lenses for telescopes and other astronomical paraphernalia, and her work in William's observatory led her to her own discoveries: extraterrestrial clouds, cosmic haze and a plethora of deep sky objects. After William died in 1822, Caroline took his role as royal astronomer, surveying the sky and discovering eight comets — the first woman to identify shooting stars as such. She studied stars until she died at age 97.

"However long we live, life is short, so I work," she said. Simple enough.

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