Caroline Lucretia Herschel (1750-1848)

German-British astronomer. Born on 16 March 1750 in Hanover, Germany. The younger sister of William Herschel (1738-1822), she was brought to England by her brother to keep house and learn to be a singer.

In 1782 her brother, William, gave up his career in music to concentrate on astronomy. Caroline became his assistant, eventually undertaking her own research. In 1783 she found three new nebulae, including the companion to the Andromeda nebulae, while between 1786 and1797 she discovered eight comets. Her revision of Flamsteed’s catalogue of the stars was published by the Royal Society in 1798.

Following her brother’s death in 1882 she returned to Hanover, where she reorganised her brother’s catalogue of some 2500 nebulae and star clusters. For this she was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835) and was made first female member of the society, along with Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley. She died at Hannover, Germany on 9 January 1848.