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back to article Did Herschel discover the rings around Uranus?

A British scientist wants to re-write history and attribute the discovery of the ring around Uranus (no sniggering at the back) to Sir William Herschel. Officially, Uranus' rings were identified in 1977. Herschel, who discovered the planet in 1781, was long dead by then, having shuffled off this mortal coil in 1822. But Dr …

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Tsk! Tsk!

The Maunder Minimum is a period between 1645 and 1715 when sunspots were almost absent from the surface of the Sun; so it had already ended by the time Herschel turned his telescope towards Uranus. There's a second minimum, less severe, called the Dalton Minimum from 1790 to around 1810, but again that's outside the scope of Herschel's observations.

Instead, the cold clear air which *MAY* have aided his discovery was one of the effects of The Little Ice Age which started in the late 13th Century, but really got going in the mid 16th Century, lasting all the way through to the mid 19th Century just long enough to give us our ideas of what a proper Christmas should look like.

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Eww.

"The Maunder Minimum is a period between 1645 and 1715 when sunspots were almost absent from the surface of the Sun; so it had already ended by the time Herschel turned his telescope towards Uranus."

Creepy bastard, that Herschel.

*draws drapes*

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Moot point

Frankly, this is a moot point. There are lots of instances in science where it was found that someone else had previously discovered/noticed this or that invention/event/whatever.

The point being, the "discoverer" has historically been the first person who is able to make the rest of the scientific community sit up and listen - even if it's just to say (originally) that the concept is rubbish. End of story. If you don't publish (so to speak), you don't even figure (kind of/sort of like the psychics who come out of the woodwork after major disasters claiming that had predicted the events. Really? Then why did nobody know about it beforehand? There *may* be something to psychic "powers" but *these* people are charlatans)

Even if Herschel had noticed the rings, the fact that it took so long for the scientific to even notice places him in the "might have been" category.

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Anonymous Coward

All this talk...

...about Uranus and Rings has got me all quite duisgusted!

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