Gunther Buttman’s The Shadow of the Telescope was the first full-length biography of the nineteenth-century astronomer, Sir John Herschel. First published in German, this intriguing text chronicles the life and works of the third of the Herschel astronomers, the son of William and the nephew of Caroline. John was extremely intelligent, graduating as Senior Wrangler in the notoriously difficult Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge University. While less famous than his father and aunt, he nevertheless went on to make important discoveries in the field of astronomy. He named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus, the planet his father had only recently discovered.
Making admirable use of John’s unpublished correspondence, diaries, and notebooks, Buttman covers his extensive astronomical observations at Cape Town in South Africa, his pioneering work in photography and in physical optics in Britain, his unhappy experiences as Master of the Mint, and much more.