Even though Galileo’s telescope was very small, he was able to see that the faint band of light across the sky, called the Via Lactea, or Milky Way, consisted of huge numbers of stars. But the significance of that band of light was not clear until William Herschel began his obsession with building truly large telescopes. With these instruments Herschel made two major discoveries that had an important bearing on our understanding of the cosmos. First, that we live in a huge collection of stars called the Milky Way, and second that there are a great many “fuzzy patches” called nebulae, some of which consisted of stars, and others of luminous clouds. He did this work at his own residence, known as Observatory House, in Slough, England.