Talk:Caroline Herschel

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Completion of the Reduction ?[edit]

A puzzling phrase here:-

in 1828 she completed the reduction, to January 1800, of 2500 nebulae discovered by her brother.

No idea what this means but its exactly as it is in copies of the 1911 Britannica.

Did she reduce the number from 2500 to 1800 by eliminating duplictes ?. Did she verify the list of nebulae up to the point of Jan 1800 ?

Can anyone shed any light. Lumos3 09:11, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I have read elsewhere (e.g.; in catalan) that Maria Winkleman (1670-1720) discovered a comet in 1702, which puts her well ahead of Caroline Herschel as the first woman to discover a comet. Clearly someone is in error.

I think the statement that she completed the "reduction, to January 1800, of 2500 nebulae" means that she calculated (from the observational data) the declination and right ascension of those nebulae at January 1800. Fathead99 (talk) 16:02, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Clarification & fact tags[edit]

While I was here to add an image, I copyedited the article a bit, and added quite a few fact, clarifyme, and verify source templates. There are many statements here (including the one mentioned above by Lumos3, that need to be referenced or clarified. I will do my best to fix some of them, but science is not my area of expertise, so I'm probably not the best-qualified. PaladinWhite 16:56, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

To continue with this topic should we speak of Hannover or Hanover? Both are used in the article. As a Briton I would prefer Hanover and will change all Hannovers to Hanover unless substantive arguments for not doing so are forthcoming.

The same applies to William and Wilhelm. Certainly the English literature speaks of him virtually universally as William Herschel, again unless substantive arguments etc.

More troubling to me is the following Caroline was known as a bitter, jealous woman who worshipped her brother and resented those who invaded their domestic lives. Therefore when he married, Caroline was always upset. Wilhelm’s new wife made every possible effort to stay on good terms with Caroline, but it was useless, Caroline remained bitter.[6] One source is cited but it seems to me to be perfectly understandable that Caroline, dependent as she was on William and prior to his marriage, his housekeeper, should be upset about surrendering her position to a stranger. Describing Caroline as bitter and jealous seems to be vindicative. Certainly she had some reason to be jealous of her position, especially as she sacrificer her musical career on the altar of William's aspirations. Everybody got to be somewhere! (talk) 21:29, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm a year late, but I have added an alternate view from a book I'm reading. Mary Baldwin-Pitt wasn't precisely a stranger, she'd been their neighbor for awhile, but I agree that Caroline's fifty-year-old bachelor brother marrying the widow next-door and then reducing her say in the running of the house was bound to be a difficult adjustment. So the position you quote does seem unduly negative to me, particularly as it was the only one. Holmes indicates that William considered some kind of co-equal status where he'd be with his wife as husband, but Caroline would still run their shared house. Mary, perhaps also understandably, thought him having a double life wasn't a good idea so she turned down his first marriage proposal as it had those terms. Still, even if the book doesn't say it, I wonder if maybe Caroline was also angry about Mary nixing the "co-equal in William's life" type idea.--T. Anthony (talk) 11:46, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Comet Encke[edit]

It is not clear who was the first to see this comet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

All the information I can find says the Comet Encke was first seen by Mechain. It is bright enough to be seen with the un-aided eye from a dark site. It is odd that it was not seen before 1786. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into this. This article is citing Ogilvie (ISBN 026265038X), yet the index does not mention Encke.
Johann Franz Encke says: "The comet was also identified with the one seen by Pierre Méchain in 1786 and by Caroline Herschel in 1795.", but without citing a source. The Encke obit (p. 131), supports this (and mentions Messier as another 1786 discoverer).
The Caroline Herschel obit (p. 65) lists eight comets with dates, and says she was first discoverer of five without saying which five.
What sources are you looking at? --Jtir (talk) 17:22, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
I have made these changes. --Jtir (talk) 19:51, 15 February 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:43, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. That is consistent with what is now in the article, which is citing the MNRAS obits. --Jtir (talk) 21:05, 16 February 2008 (UTC)


If Caroline Herschel was born in Germany, then wasn't her birth name 'Karolina,' and shouldn't the article say so somewhere? I am sure she was called 'Caroline' and thought of herself as such after she emigrated to England. Bigturtle (talk) 18:52, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

It was quite usual in the life time of Caroline Herschel for German names that start with a 'K' nowadays to start with a 'C' then. This spelling has continued in the English language, but changed in German to 'K'. I'm not saying that it's absolutely like that, but it's very likely and is supported by the German article about her. invenio tc 05:17, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Caroline Herschel a British astronomer?!?[edit]

How can Caroline Herschel be a British astronomer (intro), when her nationality was German? invenio tc 05:17, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

she moved permanently to England at age 22 and began her astronomy work there. There was no "German nationality" in those days; her king in Hanover was the same man who was king George II in England, so she remained his subject.Rjensen (talk) 11:31, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
She did not move permanently to England. After her brother died, she moved back to Germany. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Newzild (talkcontribs) 04:24, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
She was there from age 22 until age 71, or thereabouts, if the dates in the article are correct. Half of a century is pretty long for a temporary stay. --Badger151 (talk) 02:20, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Google Doodle mention, semi-protection/pending changes protection necessary?[edit]

The topic is featured in today's Google doodle and checking revision history there has been quite some edits in recent days and hours. Is it a good idea to request for semi-protection or pending-change protection to deal with vandalism? Ryan (talk) 04:26, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

Yes, I'd strongly recommend it! The dates in the Early Life section were completely messed up until about a minute ago - some still are - and in the second sentence of that section she's still referred to as "...the bich child and fourth daughter of Isaac Herschel...". Is that supposed to be 5th child? 6th child? poorly spelled vandalism? Tdbostick (talk) 09:34, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

List of sources[edit]

More to come. Keilana (talk) 17:56, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

Caroline & William?[edit]

Why is this page written with first names rather than surnames as is usual practice? See for example William Herschel's page where he is referred to as Herschel except in the section about his sister where for clarity presumably they become Caroline and William. Unless there is good reason to refer to her as Caroline through I'd like to change to Herschel where it doesn't cause confusion with her brother.

Professmoravec (talk) 20:40, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

re: "The Echo"[edit]

I've put a "citation needed" tag on the attribution of this work to Caroline in the last paragraph of Early Life.

This catch is usually attributed to Caroline's brother William, for example here,

[do a CTRL-F search on 'the Echo catch'; see however footnote 8 just proceeding, noting incorrect information about other works attributed to William but thought to be by his/Caroline's brother Jacob]

and in the liner notes to at least one of the currently available CD's of his music (which state that only his 6 keyboard sonatas and "The Echo" were published in his lifetime.

It seems to me entirely plausible that Caroline did write "The Echo", but that due to the mores of the times it had to be published under her brother's name. However, this needs to be established by a Reliable Source one way or the other. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 21:30, 26 June 2017 (UTC)