Caroline Herschel

Topics: William Herschel, George III of the United Kingdom, Comet Pages: 3 (960 words) Published: November 21, 2010
This essay is of a woman astronomer Caroline Herschel. Herschel was the first lady to discover a comet. The reason why I chose this topic is because apart from being a women astronomer she also showed her prominence in mathematics. She hailed from a musician background but her fortune brought her to the field of astronomy and today we stand witnessing vital discoveries such as of comets, which is a very significant topic of research in this modern era. She has been recognized and honored worldwide for her work.

Caroline, nicknamed Lina, was born in Hanover, Germany on March 16, 1750, the fifth of six children of Isaac Herschel and Anna Ilse Moritzen. Her father was a talented musician. He encouraged all his children to train in mathematics, French and music. Caroline's mother did not see the need for a girl to become educated and preferred to make Caroline a house servant to the rest of the family. Isaac gave his daughter a rudimentary education, despite his wife's disapproval.

At the age of three Caroline was scarred due to smallpox. It disfigured her left eye and pock-marked her cheeks. At the age of ten Caroline was stricken with typhus. The disease permanently stunted her growth. Her diminutive height of 4'3" was caused by this disease. Thanks to the deformities caused by her illnesses, her parents concluded that she would never marry but would live her life as an old maid. Caroline remained in her parents' home until, at the age of twenty-two, her brother, Freidrich Wilhelm (nicknamed Fritz and later known as William), took her to live with him in Bath, England. Caroline became her brother's housekeeper.

William was an accomplished musician and a conductor. He gave Caroline voice lessons and trained her in mathematics as well. Caroline became a well known soprano and began to sing professionally. William's hobby was astronomy and he devoted most of his free time to making more and more powerful telescopes with which to look deeper into space....
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