Caroline Herschel would turn 270 today.
Caroline was the sister of William, a musician from Hannover whose passion for astronomy led him to surpass most academically trained astronomers of his day. He became a renowned telescope maker and one of the greatest observational astronomers of all time.
Caroline’s starry career started inauspiciously, simply assisting William in his astronomical undertakings. There were times when he was grounding lenses and mirrors with such assiduity that she needed to spoon-feed him. Over the years, she became a notable astronomer in her own right.
“She was the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist. She was the first woman in England to hold a government position. She was the first woman to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville). She was also named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838). The King of Prussia presented her with a Gold Medal for Science on the occasion of her 96th birthday (1846).”