Herschel: Sir William Herschel
Sir William Herschel
In 1789 at his home in Slough, Herschel erected his great telescope, with a 48-in. (122 cm) mirror and a focal length of 40 ft (12.2 m). Sir William discovered the sixth and seventh satellites of Saturn, determined the rotation period of Saturn, and studied the rotation of other planets. He concluded from the motions of double stars that they are held together by gravitation and that they revolve around a common center, thus confirming the universal nature of Newton's theory of gravitation. He cataloged over 800 double stars. His research in the field of nebulae suggested a possible beginning of new worlds from gaseous matter. Before this time only about 100 nebulae had been known; Sir William's catalog contained about 2,500. He concluded that the whole solar system is moving through space, and he was able to indicate the point toward which he believed it to be moving.
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