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January 2009 Extra: The 7th Planet

January 2009 Extra

For the January Extra show Nick is by himself. He wasn't totally alone though as video Jodcaster Colin Stuart sent a field report from the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath and Tim was here to answer listener questions.


Tucked away in a side street in Bath is the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. The museum is the place where, in 1781, William Herschel discovered the seventh planet - the first planet discovered since antiquity.

William Herschel arrived in Bath as a musician and a few years later brought his sister Caroline Herschel from Hannover to join him. In 1781, William was viewing a double star, and noted a nearby blob that he didn't recognise. After initially thinking he had discovered a comet, it was soon confirmed that it was actually a planet. Debbie James and Andy Burns describe the Herschels, their life in Bath and their observations.

Also at the museum is a sculpture representing the planet Uranus in a UK-scale solar system model that has the Sun at Jodrell Bank and Pluto in Aberdeen.

Ask An Astronomer

Nick puts listener questions to Tim O'Brien. This month the questions include:

Show Credits

Interview:Debbie James, Andy Burns and Colin Stuart
Ask An Astronomer:Dr Tim O'Brien and Nick Rattenbury
Presenter:Nick Rattenbury
Editor:Nick Rattenbury
Segment voice:Tess Jaffe
Website:Stuart Lowe
Cover art:A Sharper View of a Tilted Planet (Uranus) Credit: Lawrence Sromovsky, (Univ. Wisconsin-Madison), Keck Observatory

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