OTD in Space – March 13: Uranus Discovered!

13th March 2018

On March 13, 1781, Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. Before Herschel discovered Uranus, other astronomers had seen it before, but no one realized it was planet. Instead, they thought it was a star. Herschel actually thought he was looking at a comet. Because it was moving, he figured it couldn’t have been a star. Herschel and other astronomers spent two years debating about whether it was a comet or a planet. In 1783, Herschel finally announced that Uranus was, in fact, a planet. But Uranus didn’t receive its name until 1850. Herschel wanted to name it George’s Star after King George III, but astronomers outside of England weren’t cool with that. Ultimately, the German astronomer Johann Bode named it Uranus after the ancient Greek god of the sky. While the international astronomy community liked that name better than George’s Star, the planet was hereby destined to forever be the butt of all solar system jokes.