AstronomerWilliam Herschel noticed a fuzzy object in the sky.
He considered whether it was a star, a comet,or a planet. After increasing thestrength of his telescope, the object became larger and sharper, leadingHerschel to believe it was a planet. (Williams,Clough, Stanley, & Kerton, n.d.). The discovery of the suspected planet,Uranus, was confirmed in 1781.
Beforelong, astronomers all over the world wondered if there were other planets to bediscovered. Astronomers soon discoveredthat the orbit of Uranus was not like the orbits of other planets; it wobbled.This knowledge led to theories of why,and, one of those theories postulated that another planet was nearby. 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” (Williams et al, n.d.). Le Verrier had used mathematical calculations to predict where thisplanet might be located.
He sent thisinformation to a pair of German astronomers who worked at the BerlinObservatory, who in turn commenced a search for this suspected, undiscovered planet.The German astronomer, Johann GottfriedGalle, soon discovered the planet, Neptune. Work to find this new planet was acooperative effort. It began withHerschel’s work, then continued with the mathematician, Urbain Le Verrier, whocalculated where this new planet might be, and ended with Johann GottfriedGalle discovering the planet, Neptune, on September 25, 1846. “Neptune was the first planet to be predictedby first applying previous knowledge, and then confirming it throughobservation” (Williams et al, n.
d.). Herschel had behaved scientifically byfocusing on the natural world and inspiring others to ongoing research. To find a previously undiscovered planet thatcould affect the orbit of Uranus, mathematicians and astronomers workedtogether. These men behaved scientifically by sharing their data, utilizing researchthat had already been done, and using testable ideas. The result was the discovery of the planet,Neptune.