Alexander Stewart Herschel, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Anderson's University, photographed with brothers John and William on either side, c 1870. The Herschel brothers came from a famous family of astronomers. Their grandfather, Sir William, discovered the planet Uranus, while their father, Sir John, mapped and catalogued what was then the largely uncharted Southern celestial hemisphere.
Alexander Herschel began his scientific career in 1861 when he went to the Royal School of Mines. He was appointed Professor of Natural History at Anderson's University in 1866. During his time in Glasgow, he developed a binocular direct-vision spectroscope which was fitted with prisms of his own design. This instrument enabled him to observe seventeen spectra of meteors.
In 1871 Herschel moved to become Professor of Physics at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he continued his pioneering work in meteor spectroscopy. He also worked on identifying comets as the source of meteor showers.
Reproduced with the permission of Strathclyde University Archives
Anderson's University, astronomers, astronomy, comets, meteor showers, meteor spectroscopy, meteors, natural philosophy, physics, Royal School of Mines, scientists, spectroscopes, Uranus