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Review of Comet Chaser

The Cinderella Story

of Caroline Herschel -

The First Professional Woman Astronomer



Chronicle Books

(pub. 3.5.2024)

60 pages

Ages 5 - 8

Author: Pamela Turner

   Illustrator: Vivien Mildenberger

Character: Caroline Herschel


" In a day when girls were barely educated at all, Caroline Herschel's father taught her math and music . . . until, suddenly, he died. Her mother saw her as little more than a household servant. Caroline might have been doomed to a life of drudgery and dimness if not for her brother, who took her from Germany to England. There they started looking for comets, and building telescopes in their free time, gradually making them larger and larger. Their many discoveries brought the great astronomers of the day to their doorstep, where they found that the Herschels had made the best telescopes of their time.

From household drudge to belle of the scientific ball, Caroline Herschel won international prizes never before awarded to a woman and earned a professional wage from the king. She and her discoveries remain as stunning today as they were then. In this delightfully imaginative retelling of Caroline's career, her fairy godmother is none other than her own bright intelligence, hard work, and passion for science."

Tantalizing taste:

"The next day, it rained. Caroline worried.

Would it be too cloudy to see her object again?

Light faded into darkness. The clouds drifted

away, and the sky unfolded its wonders. Caroline

found the glowing light again and measured its

position. It had moved since the night before.

It must be a comet!

Too excited to sleep, Caroline

wrote to other astronomers asking

them to confirm her discovery."

And something more: The back matter explains that "if William and Caroline lived in our times, any scientific papers based on their joint efforts would carry both their names. But in the eighteenth century, it was taken for granted that William was the scientist and Caroline was merely his assistant, despite her expert mathematical and astronomical skills...

Even in old age, Caroline continued to advance the science of astronomy. She created several catalogs showing the positions of thousands of stars, star clusters, and nebulae. Caroline's work was so precise that some of her catalogs are still in use today."


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