Astronomer Royal

Astronomer Royal

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Encyclopedia
Astronomer Royal is a senior post in the Royal Household
Royal Household
A Royal Household in ancient and medieval monarchies formed the basis for the general government of the country as well as providing for the needs of the sovereign and his relations....

 of the Sovereign
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. There are two officers, the senior being the Astronomer Royal dating from 22 June 1675; the second is the Astronomer Royal for Scotland
Astronomer Royal for Scotland
Astronomer Royal for Scotland was the title of the director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh until 1995. It has since been an honorary title.The following have served as Astronomers Royal for Scotland:* 1834–1844 Thomas Henderson...

 dating from 1834.

King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

, who founded the Royal Observatory Greenwich in 1675 instructed the first Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed
John Flamsteed
Sir John Flamsteed FRS was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars.- Life :Flamsteed was born in Denby, Derbyshire, England, the only son of Stephen Flamsteed...

, "."

From that time until 1972 the Astronomer Royal was Director of the Royal Observatory Greenwich. As Astronomer Royal he receives a stipend
Stipend
A stipend is a form of salary, such as for an internship or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from a wage or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work performed, instead it represents a payment that enables somebody to be exempt partly or wholly from waged or salaried...

 of 100 GBP
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 per year and is a member of the Royal Household
Royal Household
A Royal Household in ancient and medieval monarchies formed the basis for the general government of the country as well as providing for the needs of the sovereign and his relations....

, under the general authority of the Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

. After the separation of the two offices the position of Astronomer Royal has been largely honorary, though he remains available to advise the Sovereign on astronomical and related scientific matters, and the office is of great prestige.

There was also formerly a Royal Astronomer of Ireland.

Astronomers Royal

  • 1675–1719 John Flamsteed
    John Flamsteed
    Sir John Flamsteed FRS was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars.- Life :Flamsteed was born in Denby, Derbyshire, England, the only son of Stephen Flamsteed...

  • 1720–1742 Edmond Halley
    Edmond Halley
    Edmond Halley FRS was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, following in the footsteps of John Flamsteed.-Biography and career:Halley...

  • 1742–1762 James Bradley
    James Bradley
    James Bradley FRS was an English astronomer and served as Astronomer Royal from 1742, succeeding Edmund Halley. He is best known for two fundamental discoveries in astronomy, the aberration of light , and the nutation of the Earth's axis...

  • 1762–1764 Nathaniel Bliss
    Nathaniel Bliss
    The Reverend Nathaniel Bliss was an English astronomer of the 18th century, serving as Britain's fourth Astronomer Royal between 1762 and 1764....

  • 1765–1811 Nevil Maskelyne
    Nevil Maskelyne
    The Reverend Dr Nevil Maskelyne FRS was the fifth English Astronomer Royal. He held the office from 1765 to 1811.-Biography:...

  • 1811–1835 John Pond
    John Pond
    John Pond FRS was a renowned English astronomer who became the sixth Astronomer Royal, serving from 1811 to 1835.- Biography :...

  • 1835–1881 Sir George Biddell Airy
    George Biddell Airy
    Sir George Biddell Airy PRS KCB was an English mathematician and astronomer, Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881...

  • 1881–1910 Sir William Christie
    William Christie (astronomer)
    Sir William Henry Mahoney Christie FRS was a British astronomer.He was born in Woolwich, London, the son of Samuel Hunter Christie and educated at King's College London, and at Trinity College, Cambridge...

  • 1910–1933 Sir Frank Dyson
    Frank Watson Dyson
    Sir Frank Watson Dyson, KBE, FRS was an English astronomer and Astronomer Royal who is remembered today largely for introducing time signals from Greenwich, England, and for the role he played in testing Einstein's theory of general relativity.- Biography :Dyson was born in Measham, near...

  • 1933–1955 Sir Harold Spencer Jones
    Harold Spencer Jones
    Sir Harold Spencer Jones KBE FRS was an English astronomer. Although born "Jones", his surname became "Spencer Jones"....

  • 1956–1971 Richard van der Riet Woolley
    Richard van der Riet Woolley
    Richard van der Riet Woolley was an English astronomer who became Astronomer Royal. His mother's maiden name was Van der Riet....

  • 1972–1982 Sir Martin Ryle
    Martin Ryle
    Sir Martin Ryle was an English radio astronomer who developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources...

  • 1982–1990 Sir Francis Graham-Smith
    Francis Graham-Smith
    Sir Francis Graham-Smith is a British astronomer. He was the thirteenth Astronomer Royal from 1982 to 1990.He was educated at Rossall School, Lancashire, England...

  • 1991–1995 Sir Arnold Wolfendale
    Arnold Wolfendale
    Sir Arnold Whittaker Wolfendale FRS is a British astronomer who served as Astronomer Royal from 1991 to 1995.-Early life:...

  • 1995–present Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow
    Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow
    Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, FRS is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004...