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Astronomical Tales

What do Frankenstein and the man who discovered Uranus have in common?

The man who discovered the planet Uranus was William Herschel. He was the most important astronomer in Mary Shelley's day. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein during the time that Herschel was conducting his astronomical research.

Why did a professional musician name galaxy catalog numbers that are still in use today?
the answer

After discovering Uranus, Herschel was appointed King's Astronomer by George III. I'm not sure what distinguishes a King's Astronomer from, say, just an astronomer, but the perks and privileges of Lordship were obtained through the much unheralded efforts of his sister Caroline. Politically savvy women astronomers these days are loathe to point out that many anonymous wives, sisters, and female assistants did most of the day to day leg work that allowed their male supervisors their astronomical glory. Caroline and William's collaboration is just such a story.

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