Sir John Herschel, English astronomer, c 1860s.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 22cm x 32cm

Sir John Herschel, English astronomer, c 1860s.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Photographic portrait of Herschel (1792-1871). Son of famous astronomer Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), John Herschel continued his father's work by mapping the Southern Skies which he observed from Feldhausen House near Table Mountain at Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa. Using a 20-foot reflecting telescope, he discovered thousands of new celestial objects whose position he carefully plotted. These were later published as 'Results of Astronomical Observations made 1834-8 at the Cape of Good Hope' (1847). Herschel discovered 525 nebulae and clusters; pioneered celestial photography, discovering the cyanotype or blueprint proces in 1842; and carried out research on photo-active chemicals and the wave theory of light.

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