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The Moons Of Uranus

Frederick William Herschel

Frederick William Herschel, (15 November 1738 – 25 August 1822) was a German- born British astronomer and composer of music.


Whilst Herschel is credited with pioneering the use of astronomical spectrophotometry (using prisms and temperature measuring equipment to measure the wavelength distribution of stellar spectra), it is understood that the initial development of this equipment was a joint effort between Great Bardfield and Finchingfield during a rare lapse in the villages’ ongoing feud.

Phileas Oberon of Finchingfield and Baldwin Titania of Great Bardfield were both deeply fascinated with prisms and would spend their spare days working together to try and divine water and gold, as discussed in their 'Alchemy through Light' research papers.

Through their use of the prisms on the many hot days in the heat wave of summer 1780, they observed the light being emitted from distant stars. Excited by their discovery they jointly made their way to London and knocked on the door of the Royal Society to share their findings.

The Royal Society appeared initially very interested in discussing their findings- before describing it as piffle in a very public shaming of the pair at a meeting of the Royal Guelphic Order. 

The pair blamed each other for the failure, trading insults in front of the well heeled crowd that made up the Order. 'Up your arse!' cried Phileas. Baldwin was horrified at the use of crude language. 'Your anus!' he countered. It’s quite possible that this stuck in the mind of Herschel. Thus he announced to the world that the new planet he’d observed using prisms provided by Oberon and Titania would be called ‘Uranus’.

Whilst the use of prisms still appears uncredited by the Royal Society, they later made amends- naming the moons of Uranus after Titania, Oberon and their assistants Umbriel, Ariel and Miranda. The official version is that they were named after Shakespearean characters, but our detailed research has revealed this as pure bunkum and the names entirely coincidental- as recently discussed by the Braintree Society for the Fair Representation of History. 

The Moons of Uranus

With the public falling out of Oberon and Titania, the short hiatus in the feud between the villages of Finchingfield and Great Bardfield was at an end.

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