Astronomer William Herschel noticeda hazy object in the sky.
He consideredwhether it was a star, a comet, or a planet. After increasing the strength of his telescope, the object became largerand sharper when magnified, leading Herschel to believe it was another planet. (“Accounting forAnomaly: The Discovery of Neptune,” n.d.). The discovery of the suspected planet, Uranus, was confirmed in 1781.
Before long, astronomers all over the worldwondered if there were other planets to be discovered. Astronomers soon discovered that the orbit ofUranus was not like the orbits of other planets; it wobbled. This knowledgelead to theories of why, and, one theory was that another planet was nearby.
Herschel behaved scientifically by focusing onthe natural world and inspiring others to ongoing research. Years later, Urbain Le Verrier, aFrench Mathematician, tried to convince his fellow countrymen to search for aplanet that appeared as a “fuzzy dot against a background of thousands ofbrighter stars” (“Accountingfor Anomaly: The Discovery of Neptune,” n.d.). Le Verrier had used mathematical calculationsto predict where this planet might be located. He sent this information to a pair of German astronomers who worked atthe Berlin Observatory. They commenced a search for this presumed new planet.
TheGerman Astronomer, Johann Gottfreid Galle, soon discovered the planet, Neptune.Work to find this new planet was acollaborative effort. It began withHerschel’s work, then continued with a Mathematician, who calculated where thisnew planet might be, and ended with Johann Gottfried Galle discovering theplanet, Neptune, on September 25, 1846.
“Neptune was the first planet to be predicted by first applying previousknowledge, and then confirming it through observation” (“Accounting for Anomaly: The Discovery ofNeptune,” n.d.). Mathematicians and Scientists both workedat figuring out where this undiscovered planet, that could affect the orbit ofUranus, might be. They behaved scientifically by sharing their data and readingthe work that had already been done.