The Georgian Star, by Michael Lemonick, is the biography of William Herschel and his sister Caroline Herschel. In 1781, William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. As Lemonick points out, this made Herschel the first discoverer of a planet, since Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn had been visible and known to anyone who cared to look up at the night sky for all of human history.
Herschel became more and more interested in astronomy. He bought books on the subject, studied the heavens through telescopes, and began making his own telescopes. With Caroline's help, he began spending every free minute, day and night, on astronomy. He invented the technique of making repeated sweeps of the entire night sky, cataloguing everything he found. In the midst of it all, he came upon the new planet. We call this planet Uranus, but at the time, Herschel's science colleagues urged him to name the planet for King George III. In this way, Herschel earned the King's favor and was freed at last from having to make a living with music.
Throughout The Georgian Star, Mike Lemonick quotes from Caroline Herschel's wry, humorous diary about her brother's frenetic days and nights, and about her own award-winning contributions. William Herschel discovered more than 2000 nebulae, hundreds of paired stars, and infra-red radiation. He tracked the direction of the migration of our Solar System through the Milky Way, and realized that starlight we presently see has taken so long to reach us, the stars whose light it is might well have burned out by now.
The Georgian Star combines science, history, and human interest so beautifully, we are sorry to come to the end of the book