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SIR JOHN HERSCHEL
SIR JOHN HERSCHEL
Berkshire, England (1792 - 1871)
Sir John Frederick William Herschel was an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, experimental photographer and inventor. The son of astronomer Sir William Herschel, he originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy. He named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus.
 

Enjoy these insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.

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Gibor Basri

Extrasolar planets
Gibor Basri - University of California, Berkeley

Extra solar planets, planets around other stars, were not known until about 15 years ago. But before that we actually had a pretty good idea how planets formed.

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Gibor Basri

Is Pluto a planet?
Gibor Basri - University of California, Berkeley

The question is, is Pluto a planet? How small can something be and still be a planet? Then there were arguments at the upper end which was how massive can I make a planet before it becomes a brown dwarf. This has been a very interesting debate in the astronomical community.

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Gibor Basri

Disks of dust
Gibor Basri - University of California, Berkeley

The exciting discovery was that the young stars like the stars I was studying showed up as being very little dimmed by dust and yet they had a big infrared excess around them so there was a lot of dust there and really the only way that could work is if that dust was concentrated in a plane.

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Gibor Basri

Galileo and Copernicus on planets
Gibor Basri - University of California, Berkeley

The definition of planet has undergone big changes in the past. The earth was not a planet until Copernicus and Galileo came along.

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Gibor Basri

Proprietary disk recognition
Gibor Basri - University of California, Berkeley

The trick astronomers were able to use to tell that the dust was actually in a disk form rather than a cloud form is that if you surround a star with a cloud of dust that dust will actually absorb some of the visible light from the star and make it look dimmer and redder than it would otherwise look.

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