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2020-12-28 08:09:12
HERSCHEL, William
A Letter from William Herschel [to Sir Joseph Banks], pp. 1-3 [AND:] On the Diameter and Magnitude of the Georgium Sidus; With a Description of the Dark and Lucid Disk and Periphery Micrometers, pp. 4-14 in: Philosophical Transactions, vol. 73, for the year 1783. Part I (complete journal volume). NAMING AND MEASURING HERSCHEL'S NEWLY DISCOVERED PLANET
London: Lockyer Davis & Peter Elmsly, 1783. First edition, contained in a complete (part) volume of the Transactions. On March 13, 1781, while undertaking an extensive telescopic survey of the heavens, Herschel (1738-1822) observed an object which he immediately recognized as being unlike any ordinary star. He first believed it to be a comet, and announced it as such in a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions in 1781 ('Account of a comet,' vol. 71, pp. 492-501); however, examination of the object's orbit by other astronomers revealed that it was in fact a planet - the first planet in our solar system to be discovered in historical times. In an open letter to Joseph Banks (the first offered paper), Herschel ackowledged that "the new star, which I had the honour of pointing out in March, 1781, is a Primary Planet of our Solar System" (p. 1). He went on to propose naming the new planet Georgium Sidus (Georgian star) in honor of George III. This proposal did not find favour with Continental astronomers, and the name Uranus, suggested by German astronomer J. G. Bode, was soon widely adopted (the name became universal in 1850 when Britain's Nautical Almanac Office finally switched from Georgium Sidus to Uranus). Herschel's first paper on the properties of the new planet (the second offered paper) records Herschel's observations of the Georgium Sidus between October 22, 1781 and November 4, 1782; it was read before the Royal Society on November 7, 1782. In this paper Herschel recorded that on "Oct. 12, 1782. The night was so fine, that I saw the Georgium Sidus very pla … [Click Below for Full Description]
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