Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel, a German-born English astronomer, was born Mar. 16, 1750. She was the younger sister of William Herschel, a musician who moved from Hannover to England in 1766, and when he invited her to join his musical ensemble in 1772 as a singer, she accepted. Unfortunately for Caroline’s singing career, William got distracted by a book on telescope-building about the time she arrived, and he spent every waking moment, when he was not writing music and rehearsing the choir at the Octagon Chapel in Bath, learning how to grind metallic mirrors for telescopes, and Caroline was more or less left to fend for herself (although she did get to sing one of the leads for a performance of Handel’s Messiah in 1778). Fortunately for William, and perhaps for Caroline, his optical exercises paid off, in that he managed to construct the finest reflecting telescope in the world by 1779, and used it to discover the 7th planet, Uranus, in 1781. He was awarded a pension from the King (he had named his new planet George), gave up his musical career, and moved to an estate near Windsor, where he built bigger and better telescopes and used them to probe deeper and deeper into space. Caroline became his indispensable assistant…

Elisabeth Hevelius

Elisabeth Catherina Koopman Hevelius, a Dutch/German/Polish astronomer, died Dec. 22, 1693. Elisabeth was born in Danzig in 1647, where the eminent astronomer Johannes Hevelius worked and had an observatory. The very year Elisabeth was born, Johannes published his Selenographia, the most elaborately illustrated astronomy folio printed to date, and the first geographical book devoted to a body other than the Earth. Elisabeth developed an early interest in astronomy and a reverence for the elder astronomer, and when Hevelius’s first wife died in 1662, Elisabeth eased into the breach, and the two were married in 1663. Elisabeth was 16; Johannes was 52…

Solar Eclipse 2017 Road Trip

Solar Eclipse 2017 Road Trip

We have reached our seating capacity for the busses. If you would like to be put on the wait list, please email events@lindahall.org with your name and the number of people in your party.

Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell, an American astronomer, was born Aug. 1, 1818, in Nantucket. Mitchell was the first professional woman astronomer in the United States and a role model for generations of aspiring women scientists. She was trained by her father, a school-teacher, and had the extreme good fortune to discover a comet in 1847. Not only was she the first to see the comet, she also had the mathematical skill to calculate its orbit…