Royal Astronomical Society

Royal Astronomical Society

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Royal Astronomical Society'
Start a new discussion about 'Royal Astronomical Society'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is a learned society
Learned society
A learned society is an organization that exists to promote an academic discipline/profession, as well a group of disciplines. Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honor conferred by election, as is the case with the oldest learned societies,...

 that began as the Astronomical Society of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in 1820 to support astronomical
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 research (mainly carried on at the time by 'gentleman astronomers
Gentleman scientist
A gentleman scientist is a financially independent scientist who pursues scientific study as a hobby. The term arose in post-Renaissance Europe but became less common in the 20th century as government and private funding increased.-History:...

' rather than professionals). It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving its Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 from William IV
William IV of the United Kingdom
William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

. A Supplemental Charter in 1915 opened up the fellowship to women. It is the UK adhering organisation to the International Astronomical Union
International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

 and a member of the Science Council
Science Council
The was established by Royal Charter in 2003. The principal activity of The Science Council is the promotion of the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of and education in science pure and applied, for the public benefit....

, and encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. Meetings are held in Burlington House
Burlington House
Burlington House is a building on Piccadilly in London. It was originally a private Palladian mansion, and was expanded in the mid 19th century after being purchased by the British government...

, in Piccadilly
Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a major street in central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and across 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...

. They are also involved in the production of astronomical journals and periodicals. The Society has over 3000 members, around a third of whom live outside the United Kingdom. In addition, those members of the public who have an interest in astronomy and geophysics and wish to support the work of the Society may become Friends of the RAS.

Publications


One of the major activities of the RAS is publishing refereed journals. It currently publishes two world-leading primary research journals, MNRAS in astronomy and (in association with the Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft
German Geophysical Society
The German Geophysical Society is a society for geophysics in Germany; it was founded in 1922 in Leipzig, Germany on the initiative of the great seismologist Emil Wiechert, as the Deutsche Seismologische Gesellschaft but changed its name into the current one in 1924.Its main activities include...

) GeoJI in geophysics, and A&G, which publishes review and other articles of wide interest in a 'glossy' format. The full list of journals published (both currently and historically) by the RAS, with abbreviations as used for the NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 ADS bibliographic codes is:
  • Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society (MmRAS): 1822–1978
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society is one of the world's leading scientific journals in astronomy and astrophysics. It has been in continuous existence since 1827 and publishes peer-reviewed letters and papers reporting original research in relevant fields...

    (MNRAS): Since 1827
  • Geophysical Supplement to Monthly Notices (MNRAS): 1922–1957
  • Geophysical Journal (GeoJ): 1958–1988
  • Geophysical Journal International
    Geophysical Journal International
    Geophysical Journal International is a monthly , peer reviewed, scientific journal, published monthly by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft . Publishing formats are original research papers, research notes, letters, and book...

    (GeoJI): Since 1989 (volume numbering continues from GeoJ)
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (QJRAS): 1960–1996
  • Astronomy & Geophysics (A&G): Since 1997 (volume numbering continues from QJRAS)

Fellowship


Members of the RAS are styled fellows, and may use the postnominals FRAS. Fellowship is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is considered acceptable to the society. As a result of the society's foundation in a time before there were many professional astronomers, no formal qualifications are required. However, around three quarters of fellows are professional astronomers or geophysicists. The society acts as the professional body
Professional body
A professional association is usually a nonprofit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest.The roles of these professional associations have been variously defined: "A group of people in a...

 for astronomers and geophysicists in the UK and fellows may apply for the Science Council's
Science Council
The was established by Royal Charter in 2003. The principal activity of The Science Council is the promotion of the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of and education in science pure and applied, for the public benefit....

 Chartered Scientist
Chartered scientist
Chartered Scientist is a professional qualification in the United Kingdom that is awarded by the Science Council through its Licensed member organisations...

 status through the society. The fellowship passed 3,000 for the first time during 2003.

Friends of the Royal Astronomical Society


In 2009 a new initiative was launched for those with an interest in astronomy and geophysics but without professional qualifications or specialist knowledge in the subject. Such people may join the Friends of the RAS, which offers popular talks, visits and social events.

Meetings


The Society regularly organises monthly discussion meetings on topics in astronomy and geophysics, which are usually held in London on the second Friday of every month from September through to June. (Reports of the meetings appear in The Observatory
The Observatory (astronomy)
The Observatory is a publication, variously described as a journal, a magazine and a review, devoted to astronomy. It has appeared regularly since 1877, and is currently published every two months....

.) It also sponsors the RAS National Astronomy Meeting, a lengthier meeting of professional astronomers held each spring, and occasionally meetings in other parts of the UK.

Library


The Royal Astronomical Society has a more comprehensive collection of books and journals in astronomy and geophysics than the libraries of most universities and research institutions. The library receives some 300 current periodicals in astronomy and geophysics and contains more than 10,000 books from popular level to conference proceedings. Its collection of astronomical rare books is second only to that of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh in the UK. The RAS library is a major resource not just for the Society but also the wider community of astronomers, geophysicists, and historians.

Education


The society is also involved in promoting astronomy to members of the general public through their various outreach pages for students, teachers, the public and media researchers. The RAS has an advisory role in relation to 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...

 public examinations, such as GCSEs and A Levels.

Associated groups


The RAS sponsors a number of topical groups, many of them in interdisciplinary areas where the group is jointly sponsored by another learned society or professional body:
  • The Astrobiology Society of Britain
  • The Astroparticle Physics Group (with the Institute of Physics
    Institute of Physics
    The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of around 40,000....

    )
  • The Astrophysical Chemistry Group (with the Royal Society of Chemistry
    Royal Society of Chemistry
    The Royal Society of Chemistry is a learned society in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences." It was formed in 1980 from the merger of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new...

    )
  • The British Geophysical Association
    British Geophysical Association
    The British Geophysical Association is a joint association of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Geological Society of London, which advances the interests of geophysics and geophysicists within the UK...

     (with the Geological Society of London
    Geological Society of London
    The Geological Society of London is a learned society based in the United Kingdom with the aim of "investigating the mineral structure of the Earth"...

    )
  • The Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial group (generally known by the acronym MIST)
  • The UK Planetary Forum
  • The UK Solar Physics group

Presidents


The first person to hold the title of President of the Royal Astronomical Society was William Herschel
William Herschel
Sir Frederick William Herschel, KH, FRS, German: Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel was a German-born British astronomer, technical expert, and composer. Born in Hanover, Wilhelm first followed his father into the Military Band of Hanover, but emigrated to Britain at age 19...

, though he never chaired a meeting, and since then the post has been held by many distinguished astronomers. The post is currently offered for a period of two years.

Recent Presidents

  • 2010– Roger Davies
    Roger Davies (astrophysicist)
    Roger Llewelyn Davies is a British astronomer and cosmologist, one of the so-called Seven Samurai collaboration who discovered an apparent concentration of mass in the Universe called the Great Attractor. He is the Philip Wetton Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University...

  • 2008–2010 Andrew Fabian
    Andrew Fabian
    Andrew Christopher Fabian, OBE, FRS is a British astronomer and astrophysicist. He is a Royal Society Research Professor at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, and Vice-Master of Darwin College, Cambridge. He was the President of the Royal Astronomical Society from May 2008 through to 2010...

  • 2006–2008 Michael Rowan-Robinson
    Michael Rowan-Robinson
    Michael Rowan-Robinson is an astronomer and astrophysicist. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and is Professor of Astrophysics and until May 2007 was Head of the Astrophysics Group at Imperial College London. From 1981 to 1982, he gave public lectures as professor of astronomy at...

  • 2004–2006 Kathryn Whaler
  • 2002–2004 Jocelyn Bell Burnell
    Jocelyn Bell Burnell
    Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS , is a British astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student she discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish. She was president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and was interim president...

  • 2000–2002 Nigel Weiss
    Nigel Weiss
    Nigel Oscar Weiss FRS is an astronomer and mathematician, and leader in the field of astrophysical and geophysical fluid dynamics. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Mathematical Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge.-Career:Born in South Africa, Prof...


1899–2000


  • 1998–2000 David Williams
  • 1996–1998 Malcolm Longair
    Malcolm Longair
    -External links:...

  • 1994–1996 Carole Jordan
    Carole Jordan
    Professor Dame Carole Jordan, DBE, FRS, FInstP, was the first ever female president of the Royal Astronomical Society. She was also only the third female recipient of its Gold Medal .-Education:Carole Jordan was educated at Harrow County Grammar School for Girls and at University College London...

  • 1992–1994 Martin Rees
  • 1990–1992 Kenneth Pounds
    Ken Pounds
    Kenneth Alwyne Pounds, CBE, FRS is Emeritus Professor of physics at the University of Leicester.He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, then attended University College London where he gained his BSc and PhD. He then moved to Leicester as Assistant Lecturer in 1960...

  • 1989–1990 Roger John Tayler
  • 1985–1987 Donald Lynden-Bell
    Donald Lynden-Bell
    Donald Lynden-Bell CBE FRS is an English astrophysicist, best known for his theories that galaxies contain massive black holes at their centre, and that such black holes are the principal source of energy in quasars. He was a co-recipient, with Maarten Schmidt, of the inaugural Kavli Prize for...

  • 1981–1983 Arnold Wolfendale
    Arnold Wolfendale
    Sir Arnold Whittaker Wolfendale FRS is a British astronomer who served as Astronomer Royal from 1991 to 1995.-Early life:...

  • 1979–1981 Michael Seaton
    M. J. Seaton
    Michael J. Seaton FRS was an influential British mathematician, atomic physicist and astronomer.He was born in Bristol, and educated at Wallington County Grammar School , a grammar school in Surrey, where he won prizes for his achievements in chemistry.From 1941 to 1946 he served in the wartime...

  • 1975–1977 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...

  • 1971–1973 Fred Hoyle
    Fred Hoyle
    Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was an English astronomer and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial stance on other cosmological and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang" theory, a term originally...

  • 1969–1971 Bernard Lovell
    Bernard Lovell
    Sir Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell OBE, FRS is an English physicist and radio astronomer. He was the first Director of Jodrell Bank Observatory, from 1945 to 1980.-Early Life:...

  • 1965–1967 Thomas George Cowling
    Thomas George Cowling
    Thomas George Cowling FRS was an English astronomer.Cowling was born in Hackney, London and studied mathematics at Brasenose College, Oxford from 1924 to 1930. From 1928 to 1930 he worked under Edward Arthur Milne...

  • 1963–1965 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....

  • 1961–1963 William McCrea
    William McCrea (astronomer)
    Sir William Hunter McCrea FRS was an English astronomer and mathematician.-Biography:His family moved to Kent in 1906 and then Derbyshire where he attended Chesterfield Grammar School. His father was a school master at Netherthorpe Grammar School in Staveley...

  • 1959–1961 Roderick Oliver Redman
    Roderick Oliver Redman
    Roderick Oliver Redman FRS was Professor of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge.Roderick was born at Rodborough near Stroud, Gloucestershire and educated at Marling School and St John's College, Cambridge....

  • 1957–1959 William Herbert Steavenson
    William Herbert Steavenson
    William Herbert Steavenson was a British amateur astronomer.He lost the vision in his right eye in a childhood accident...

  • 1955–1957 Harold Jeffreys
    Harold Jeffreys
    Sir Harold Jeffreys, FRS was a mathematician, statistician, geophysicist, and astronomer. His seminal book Theory of Probability, which first appeared in 1939, played an important role in the revival of the Bayesian view of probability.-Biography:Jeffreys was born in Fatfield, Washington, County...

  • 1953–1955 Harold Spencer Jones
    Harold Spencer Jones
    Sir Harold Spencer Jones KBE FRS was an English astronomer. Although born "Jones", his surname became "Spencer Jones"....

  • 1951–1953 Herbert Dingle
    Herbert Dingle
    Herbert Dingle , an English physicist and natural philosopher, who served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1951 to 1953, is best known for his opposition to Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity and the protracted controversy that this provoked.-Biography:Dingle was born...

  • 1949–1951 William Marshall Smart
    William Marshall Smart
    William Marshall Smart was a Scottish astronomer.He was born in Doune to Peter Fernie Smart and Isabella Marshall Harrower. He was educated at the McLaren High School, in Callander, and graduated MA fom Glasgow University in 1910 in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy...

  • 1945–1947 Harry Hemley Plaskett
    Harry Hemley Plaskett
    Harry Hemley Plaskett was a Canadian astronomer who made significant contributions to the fields of solar physics, astronomical spectroscopy and spectrophotometry...

  • 1943–1945 Arthur Milne
    Arthur Milne
    Edward Arthur Milne FRS was a British astrophysicist and mathematician.- Biography :Milne was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England...

  • 1939–1941 Henry Crozier Keating Plummer
    Henry Crozier Keating Plummer
    Henry Crozier Keating Plummer FRS was an English astronomer.-Early years and education:Born in Oxford, Plummer was the son of William Edward Plummer and nephew of the distinguished astronomer John Isaac Plummer. He gained his education at St. Edward's School and then Hertford College...

  • 1937–1939 Harold Spencer Jones
    Harold Spencer Jones
    Sir Harold Spencer Jones KBE FRS was an English astronomer. Although born "Jones", his surname became "Spencer Jones"....

  • 1935–1937 John Henry Reynolds
  • 1933–1935 Frederick John Marrian Stratton
  • 1929–1931 Andrew Claude De Lacherois Crommelin
  • 1927–1929 Theodore Evelyn Reece Phillips
  • 1925–1927 James Jeans
  • 1923–1925 John Louis Emil Dreyer
  • 1921–1923 Arthur Eddington
  • 1919–1921 Alfred Fowler
    Alfred Fowler
    Alfred Fowler, FRS was an English astronomer. Not to be confused with American astrophysicist William Alfred Fowler....

  • 1917–1919 Percy Alexander MacMahon
    Percy Alexander MacMahon
    Percy Alexander MacMahon was a mathematician, especially noted in connection with the partitions of numbers and enumerative combinatorics.-Early life:...

  • 1915–1917 Ralph Allen Sampson
    Ralph Allen Sampson
    Ralph Allen Sampson FRS was a British astronomer.He was born in Skull, Co Cork to James Sampson, a Cornish-born metallurgical chemist. The family moved to Liverpool and Sampson attended the Liverpool Institute and then graduated from St. John's College, Cambridge in 1888...

  • 1913–1915 Edmond Herbert Grove-Hills
    Edmond Herbert Grove-Hills
    Edmond Herbert Grove-Hills was a British soldier and astronomer.He was born the son of Herbert Augustus and Anna Hills in High Head Castle, Cumberland and educated at Winchester College until 1882, after which he entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich...

  • 1911–1913 Frank Watson 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...

  • 1909–1911 David Gill
    David Gill (astronomer)
    Sir David Gill FRS was a Scottish astronomer who is known for measuring astronomical distances, for astrophotography, and for geodesy. He spent much of his career in South Africa.- Life and work :...

  • 1903–1905 Herbert Hall Turner
    Herbert Hall Turner
    Herbert Hall Turner was a British astronomer and seismologist.-Biography:Herbert Hall Turner was educated at Clifton College and Trinity College, Cambridge., In 1884 he accepted the post of Chief Assistant at Greenwich Observatory and stayed there for nine years...

  • 1901–1903 James Glaisher
    James Glaisher
    James Glaisher FRS , was an English meteorologist and aeronaut.Born in Rotherhithe, the son of a London watchmaker, Glaisher was a Junior assistant at the Cambridge Observatory from 1833 to 1835 before moving to the Royal Greenwich Observatories, where he served as Superintendent of the Department...

  • 1900–1901 Edward Ball Knobel
  • 1899–1900 George Darwin


1821–1899


  • 1895–1897 Andrew Ainslie Common
    Andrew Ainslie Common
    Andrew Ainslie Common FRS was an English amateur astronomer best known for his pioneering work in astrophotography.-Biography:...

  • 1892–1893 Edward Ball Knobel
  • 1890–1892 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...

  • 1886–1888 James Glaisher
    James Glaisher
    James Glaisher FRS , was an English meteorologist and aeronaut.Born in Rotherhithe, the son of a London watchmaker, Glaisher was a Junior assistant at the Cambridge Observatory from 1833 to 1835 before moving to the Royal Greenwich Observatories, where he served as Superintendent of the Department...

  • 1884–1886 Edwin Dunkin
    Edwin Dunkin
    Edwin Dunkin FRS, , astronomer, president of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Institution of Cornwall-Birth and family:...

  • 1882–1884 Edward Stone
    Edward James Stone
    Edward James Stone was an English astronomer.He was born in Notting Hill, London to Roger and Elizabeth Stone...

  • 1878–1880 Lord Lindsay
    James Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford
    James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford and 9th Earl of Balcarres was a British astronomer, politician, bibliophile and philatelist. A member of the Royal Society, Crawford was elected president of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1878. He was a prominent Freemason.-Family:The Earl was the...

  • 1876–1878 William Huggins
    William Huggins
    Sir William Huggins, OM, KCB, FRS was an English amateur astronomer best known for his pioneering work in astronomical spectroscopy.-Biography:...

  • 1874–1876 John Couch Adams
    John Couch Adams
    John Couch Adams was a British mathematician and astronomer. Adams was born in Laneast, near Launceston, Cornwall, and died in Cambridge. The Cornish name Couch is pronounced "cooch"....

  • 1872–1874 Arthur Cayley
    Arthur Cayley
    Arthur Cayley F.R.S. was a British mathematician. He helped found the modern British school of pure mathematics....

  • 1870–1872 William Lassell
    William Lassell
    William Lassell FRS was an English merchant and astronomer.Born in Bolton and educated in Rochdale after the death of his father, he was apprenticed from 1814 to 1821 to a merchant in Liverpool. He then made his fortune as a beer brewer, which enabled him to indulge his interest in astronomy...

  • 1868–1870 Admiral Manners
    Russell Henry Manners
    Russell Henry Manners was an English Admiral and astronomer.He was born in London, the only child of the member of parliament Russell Manners. In 1813 he was sent to the Royal Naval College, and in 1816 he began a career in the British Royal Navy. He first served on the Minden, and in 1818 he...

  • 1866–1868 Charles Pritchard
    Charles Pritchard
    Charles Pritchard was a British astronomer.He was born at Alberbury, Shropshire. At sixteen he was enrolled as a sizar at St John's College, Cambridge, graduating in 1830 as fourth wrangler. In 1832 he was elected a fellow of his college, and in the following year he was ordained, and became head...

  • 1861–1863 John Lee
    John Lee (astronomer)
    John Lee LL.D , born John Fiott, was an English philanthropist, astronomer, mathematician, antiquarian and barrister.-Family:...

  • 1859–1861 Reverend Robert Main
    Robert Main
    The Reverend Robert Main was an English astronomer.Born in Kent, the eldest son of Thomas Main, Robert Main attended school in Portsea before studying mathematics at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he graduated as sixth wrangler in 1834...

  • 1857–1858 George Bishop
    George Bishop
    George Arthur Bishop was a Welsh association football player. He played professionally for Gillingham and Merthyr Town between 1926 and 1932.-References:...

  • 1851–1853 John Couch Adams
    John Couch Adams
    John Couch Adams was a British mathematician and astronomer. Adams was born in Laneast, near Launceston, Cornwall, and died in Cambridge. The Cornish name Couch is pronounced "cooch"....

  • 1849–1850 Admiral William Henry Smyth
    William Henry Smyth
    William Henry Smyth was an English sailor, hydrographer, astronomer and numismatist.-Private Life:...

  • 1847–1848 John Herschel
    John Herschel
    Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet KH, FRS ,was an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor, who in some years also did valuable botanical work...

  • 1845–1847 George Airy
    George Biddell Airy
    Sir George Biddell Airy PRS KCB was an English mathematician and astronomer, Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881...

     (7 years)
  • 1842–1844 Francis Baily
    Francis Baily
    Francis Baily was an English astronomer, most famous for his observations of 'Baily's beads' during an eclipse of the Sun.-Life:Baily was born at Newbury in Berkshire in 1774...

  • 1841–1842 John Wrottesley
    John Wrottesley, 2nd Baron Wrottesley
    John Wrottesley, 2nd Baron Wrottesley FRS FRAS was an English astronomer.Wrottesley was the son of John Wrottesley, 1st Baron Wrottesley, and his first wife Lady Caroline Bennet, daughter of Charles Bennet, 4th Earl of Tankerville. He succeeded his father in the barony on March 16, 1841...

  • 1839–1840 John Herschel
    John Herschel
    Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet KH, FRS ,was an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor, who in some years also did valuable botanical work...

  • 1835 Francis Baily
    Francis Baily
    Francis Baily was an English astronomer, most famous for his observations of 'Baily's beads' during an eclipse of the Sun.-Life:Baily was born at Newbury in Berkshire in 1774...

     (4 years)
  • 1831 John Brinkley
    John Brinkley (astronomer)
    The Rt. Rev. John Mortimer Brinkley D.D. was the first Royal Astronomer of Ireland and later Bishop of Cloyne.-Early years:...

  • 1829–1831 James South
    James South
    Sir James South was a British astronomer.He helped found the Astronomical Society of London, and it was under his name as president of the society from 1831 to 1832 that a petition was successfully submitted to obtain a royal charter in 1831, whereupon it became the Royal Astronomical...

  • 1828–1829? Francis Baily
    Francis Baily
    Francis Baily was an English astronomer, most famous for his observations of 'Baily's beads' during an eclipse of the Sun.-Life:Baily was born at Newbury in Berkshire in 1774...

  • 1827–1828? John Herschel
    John Herschel
    Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet KH, FRS ,was an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor, who in some years also did valuable botanical work...

  • 1823–1825 Henry Thomas Colebrooke
    Henry Thomas Colebrooke
    Henry Thomas Colebrooke was an English orientalist.-Biography:Henry Thomas Colebrooke, third son of Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, was born in London. He was educated at home; and when only fifteen he had made considerable attainments in classics and mathematics...

  • 1821–1823 William Herschel
    William Herschel
    Sir Frederick William Herschel, KH, FRS, German: Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel was a German-born British astronomer, technical expert, and composer. Born in Hanover, Wilhelm first followed his father into the Military Band of Hanover, but emigrated to Britain at age 19...

     (first president)


Medals


The highest award of the Royal Astronomical Society is its Gold Medal
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
-History:In the early years, more than one medal was often awarded in a year, but by 1833 only one medal was being awarded per year. This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier...

. Among the recipients best known to the general public are Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 in 1926, and Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

 in 1985.

Other awards include the Eddington Medal
Eddington Medal
The Eddington Medal, named after Sir Arthur Eddington, is awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society nominally once every two years for investigations of outstanding merit in theoretical astrophysics.- Recipients :* 1953 Georges Lemaître...

, the Herschel Medal
Herschel Medal
The Herschel Medal is a medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, awarded for outstanding work in the area of observational astrophysics.-Herschel Medalists:*1974 John Paul Wild*1977 Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson*1980 Gérard de Vaucouleurs...

, the Chapman Medal
Chapman Medal
The Chapman Medal is a medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, named in honor of British astronomer Sydney Chapman. It is awarded every other year, for investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics, including geomagnetism and aeronomy....

, the Price Medal
Price Medal
Price Medal is a medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. It is now awarded every other year for investigations of outstanding merit in solid-earth geophysics, oceanography, or planetary sciences.- Price Medalists :Recent award winners are:...

 and the Jackson-Gwilt Medal
Jackson-Gwilt Medal
The Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society has been awarded regularly since 1897 for the invention, improvement, or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques; for achievement in observational astronomy; or for achievement in research into the history of astronomy.The...

. Lectureships include the Harold Jeffreys Lectureship in geophysics
Geophysics
Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space; also the study of the Earth using quantitative physical methods. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to the geological applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and...

, the George Darwin Lectureship
George Darwin Lectureship
The George Darwin Lectureship is an award of the Royal Astronomical Society. The George Darwin Lecture is given annually, by a 'distinguished and eloquent speaker', on a topic in astronomy or astrophysics...

 in astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, and the Gerald Whitrow Lectureship in cosmology
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

.

Other activities


The Society occupies premises at Burlington House
Burlington House
Burlington House is a building on Piccadilly in London. It was originally a private Palladian mansion, and was expanded in the mid 19th century after being purchased by the British government...

, London, where a substantial library and meeting rooms are available to fellows and, by arrangement, other interested parties. The Society represents the interests of astronomy and geophysics to UK national and regional, and European government and related bodies, and maintains a press office, through which it keeps the media and the public at large informed of relevant developments in these sciences. The society also allocates grants to worthy causes in astronomy and geophysics, and assists in the management of the Paneth Trust 

See also

  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    -History:In the early years, more than one medal was often awarded in a year, but by 1833 only one medal was being awarded per year. This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier...

  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society is one of the world's leading scientific journals in astronomy and astrophysics. It has been in continuous existence since 1827 and publishes peer-reviewed letters and papers reporting original research in relevant fields...


External links