It has been claimed that William Herschel was the greatest of all astronomical observers, and this may well be true, but his early career gave no hint of what was to come. He was born Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel, son of a bandmaster in the Hanoverian Guards, on 15 November 1738; Hanover was his home town, and he was educated there. He went to the Garrison School, and soon showed his ability, since mathematics and languages came easily to him. So did music, which was understandable enough. It is strange to recall that his mother, Anna, never learned how to read or write.
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