The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Astronomer Royal

Astronomer Royal was originally the title of the director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, but since 1972 it has simply been an honorary title. Note that the Astronomer Royal for Scotland is a separate title.

King Charles II, who founded the Royal Greenwich Observatory in 1675 instructed the first Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed, "to apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying of the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation."

The complete list of Astronomers Royal is given in the table below.

John Flamsteed 16751719
Edmond Halley 17201742
James Bradley 17421762
Nathaniel Bliss 17621764
Nevil Maskelyne 17651811
John Pond 18111835
George Airy 18351881
William Christie 18811910
Frank Dyson 19101933
Harold Spencer Jones 19331955
Richard van der Riet Woolley 19561971
Martin Ryle 19721982
Francis Smith 19821990
Arnold Wolfendale 19911995
Martin Rees 1995

Last updated: 05-07-2005 04:54:00
Last updated: 05-07-2005 18:09:53