Herschel, Caroline

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Herschel, Caroline Gender: F
born on 16 March 1750
Place Hanover, Germany, 52n24, 9e44
Timezone LMT m9e44 (is local mean time)
Data source
Date w/o time
Rodden Rating X
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 25°47' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif

Caroline Herschel


German singer, and a scientist at a time when women were not acknowledged to have a mind, let alone one to ponder the mysteries of the universe. She was born into a working class family of six kids with a father who was a gardener and a musician, who gained a position as a bandsman in the Prussian army. All the children were trained in mathematics, French and music.

At age ten, Caroline had typhus that stunted her growth; she remained virtually a dwarf at 4’ 3". Her dad advised her that she would never marry as she was not handsome enough but he encouraged her to improve herself with education. His prediction was true; Caroline remained single but had many friends and admirers.

Eleven years younger than her brother William, she joined him in Britain in 1772. He was sympathetic to her condition and needed a housekeeper. He saw that she had voice lessons and she became the most prominent soprano in Bath. As William became more and more immersed in his telescopes, she did not share his passion, though trained in mathematics. She kept her place as his housekeeper but gradually, began to help him in his business. She spent long hours grinding and polishing the mirrors they used to collect light from distant objects. At the age of 32, she became an apprentice to her brother. She knew the mechanics of the craft and had developed the self-confidence lost to her from her period of servitude to her parents.

Caroline began to carry her own authority, and King George III gave her a pension of fifty pounds. This was the first time that a woman was recognized for a scientific position. Her first accomplishments were the detection of nebulae. William gave her a small telescope with which to look for comets. Trivial though it may sound, in this era, comet hunting was the main focus of many astronomers. Caroline's first experience in mathematics was her catalogue of nebulae. She calculated the positions of her brother's and her own discoveries and amassed them into a publication. By 1822 she had discovered eight comets.

After William died, 8/25/1822 in Slough England, Caroline returned to Hanover and lived with her younger brother, Dietrich. Before her death, she catalogued every discovery that she and William had made. She sent this to the scientific community in England, and they proclaimed her an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Irish Academy. Germany honored her as well. The King of Prussia gave her the Gold Medal of Science for her life's accomplishments. She lived to be 98, dying on 1/09/1848, Hanover, Germany.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • has other family relationship with Herschel, Amelia (born 21 February 1841). Notes: Grand-aunt


  • Family : Change residence 1772 (Moved to Britain to join her brother)
  • Death of Sibling 25 August 1822 (Brother William died)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death, Cause unspecified 9 January 1848 at 12:00 noon in Hanover, Germany (Age 98)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

LMR quotes Encyclopedia Britannica for date; time unknown


  • Traits : Body : Size (Small, 4' 3")
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Other Major diseases (Typhus)
  • Vocation : Science : Astronomy (Pro)
  • Notable : Awards : Medals (Gold Medal of Science)