[WORLDKINGS] On this day - March 13, 2023 – 242nd Anniversary of William Herschel's discovery of Uranus (1781)


(Worldkings.org) On this day in 1781, The German-born English astronomer William Herschel discovers Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. Herschel distinguishes Uranus as a planet and not a star, as previous astronomers believed.

The planet Uranus was discovered by William Herschel on March 13, 1781. He discovered Uranus while surveying stars in the night sky using a telescope that he had built himself. Herschel noticed that one of these "stars" seemed different, and after observing it many more times, noticed that it orbited the Sun. He calculated that Uranus had an orbit that was about 18 times farther from the Sun than Earth. Herschel also discovered two of the moons of Uranus (Titania and Oberon).

Herschel, who was later knighted for his historic discovery, named the planet Georgium Sidus, or the “Georgian Planet,” in honor of King George III of England. However, German astronomer Johann Bode proposed the name “Uranus” for the celestial body in order to conform to the classical mythology-derived names of other known planets. Uranus, the ancient Greek deity of the heavens, was a predecessor of the Olympian gods. By the mid-19th century, it was also the generally accepted name of the seventh planet from the sun.

The planet Uranus is a gas giant like Jupiter and Saturn and is made up of hydrogen, helium, and methane. The third largest planet, Uranus orbits the sun once every 84 earth years and is the only planet to spin perpendicular to its solar orbital plane. In January 1986, the unmanned U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 visited the planet, discovering 10 additional moons to the five already known, and a system of faint rings around the gas giant.


According to history.com & coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu

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