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Caroline Herschel’s 266th Birthday

“Caroline Herschel was diminutive in stature–she stood only 4’3”—but her contributions to cosmological science were monumental. The late astronomer’s parents presumed she would spend her life as a housemaid, but her considerable musical talent and formidable intellect intervened. With the help of her brother Isaac, Herschel left Germany in 1772 for Bath, England, where she took work as a soprano in the Royal Court. Her brother—also a skilled musician—started a small business making telescopes in his spare time, and the two took a deep interest in astronomy and observational cosmology.

Herschel was a keen observer of the universe. She discovered hundreds of stars, eight comets (six of which still bear her name), and became the first female astronomer enlisted by the British monarchy. Today’s Doodle by Juliana Chen celebrates Herschel’s remarkable scientific achievements, which include the publication of Catalogue of Stars and a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society. Today would have been her 266th birthday.”

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