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Sir William Herschel was the first of the influential Herschel family to become involved in astronomy His sister Caroline Lucretia and his son Sir John Frederick William also got involved in different aspects of astronomy Sir William Herschel was born in 1738 as Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel He was born in Hanover Germany His father was a musician which led to William becoming skilled on several instruments at a young age He became a band boy in the Hanoverian Guards because of his fathers influence in music In 1757 he moved to England to work as a musical conductor an organist and a music teacher While in England he also studied math and astronomy in his spare time Because of his interest in astronomy Herschel began constructing telescopes and studying the sky Herschel built a larger telescope with the help of his sister Caroline and his brother Alexander On March 13 1781 Herschel made his most important observation from a 7-inch reflecting telescope He noticed an unusual object in the sky that presented an extended disk-like shape He thought that he had discovered a comet Herschel continued his observations of this comet and began calculations that lasted for months He discovered that the orbit lay farther beyond the orbit of Saturn and was circular He realized that the comet was in fact a planet He originally named the new planet Georgium Sidus to be named after George III but it was eventually named Uranus after the god of the skies After his discovery he was granted a pension of 200 pounds a year by King George III and knighted by him He then was made the Kings astronomer With his pension this enabled him to devote all his time to astronomy Since technology was lacking in the late 18th and early 19th century the instruments Herschel had lacked clock drives to keep them trained on the moving sky Instead he directed his telescope to a point
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