March 13, 1781

On March 13, 1781, English astronomer, William Herschel, ran to his sister, Caroline Herschel, who was also an astronomer, and excitedly told her that he had just discovered Uranus. He babbled on how it was so big and gassy, it was strange that no one had noticed it before. Later, he went to the Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne, who was the person appointed by the King of England to handle and document all things planetary, and reported his findings. While jotting down notes about Herschel’s discovery of the new planet, he curiously asked about Herschel’s massive black eye. Herschel replied, “Caroline, meine schwester, was not enamored of my choice of the name for the new planet. She thinks that calling it George’s Planet after the King, might reduce future misunderstandings and quell schoolboy snickerings when they study astronomy.” Maskelyne replied, “Preposterous! What is queer about saying Ur-a-nus, the Greek God of the Sky?” “Nothing when you say it like that,” Herschel muttered as he rubbed his eye.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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