Today in History: Uranus Is Discovered
In Greek mythology, Uranus is Father Heaven, brother of the sea god Pontus; husband of Earth Goddess, Gaia; and father of the Titans, members of the second generation of divine beings. Did you know that some of the moons surrounding Uranus are named after Shakespearian characters: Oberon and Titania, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Ariel and Miranda, The Tempest? The fascination for this planet and its inspiration for literary masterpiece goes way, way back — at the same time reminding us that we, humans, are but a very small and younger part of the ever expanding universe — all of time, space, and its contents dating over 13 billion years old.
March 13, 1791 marks the discovery of the planet Uranus by the German-born English astronomer William Hershel. Uranus is the third largest planet, comprised of hydrogen, helium, and methane and the seventh planet from the sun — a huge gas giant surrounded by moons which orbits the sun just once every eight-four Earth years. Hershel called the new planet “Georgian Star” in honor of King George III and was later knighted for his amazing discovery and went on to make telescopes.
The following articles are selected from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- The Planet Uranus: Hershel Made Famous by Its Discovery. (1891, Nov 15). San Francisco Chronicle (1869-Current File)
- Doolittle, E. (1910, Jun 27). The Heavens in July. The Sun (1837-1991)
- Our, A. C. (1936, Nov 13). The Planet Uranus: Recent Discoveries. The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959)
- Mistaken for a Comet. (1956, Nov 25). The Times of India (1861-Current)
- Junior Quiz: Is Uranus Very Cold? (1963, Feb 27). Boston Globe (1960-1985)
- Alexander, G. (1977, Mar 31). Uranus Found to Have at Least Five Narrow, Saturn-Like Rings. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File)
- The Man Who Was Star Struck. (1981, Mar 12). The Guardian (1959-2003)
- Sullivan. W. S. (1986, Jan 25). In Greeks’ Myths, Uranus Was Mighty Among Gods. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Stars for March. (1987, Mar 02). The Times of India (1861-Current)
- McWilliams, B. (2004, Nov 15). Uranus, a Fortunate Fortuitous Discovery. The Irish Times (1921-Current File)
- Check out Educat, the Gottesman Libraries catalog for holdings on Uranus.
- Did you know that ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center), the most comprehensive education database, has a free government site? See articles and documents relating to Uranus.
- Read more about Uranus on the NASA website.
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