1789 depiction of the Great 40-Foot Telescope in Slough, England. 

1789 depiction of the Great 40-Foot Telescope in Slough, England. 

Happy Monday, Earthlings!

The name "Herschel" in the astronomy community may ring a bell with the Herschel Space Observatory or the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands, but let's look at the telescope that started William Herschel's legacy: the Great 40-Foot Telescope.

Frederick William Herschel, a British astronomer, constructed his large telescope in 1774, proceeding with 9 years of double star studies and other significant discoveries! Here are some fun facts about this Great Telescope:

1- It had a 48-inch diameter mirror and a 40-foot length tube (hence the name). It was dismantled in 1840.

2- revealed that nebulae in Messier's catalogues were actually star clusters!

3- Herschel published catalogues of nebulae (up to 5,000 nebulae by 1820)!

4- Most famously with this telescope is the discovery of Uranus, of which the discovery made Herschel the official Court Astronomer to King George III.

Ivory Coast, 1986 stamp of William Herschel and Uranus. From the Stanley Gibbons collection no. 875.

Ivory Coast, 1986 stamp of William Herschel and Uranus. From the Stanley Gibbons collection no. 875.

Thanks for readings and come back next Monday for a look into how we "listen" to planets!