Royal Astronomical Society portrait
|Born||28 April 1774|
Newbury, Berkshire, England
|Died||30 August 1844 70) (aged|
|Resting place||St Mary's Church in Thatcham|
|Known for|| Baily's beads |
President of the Royal Astronomical Society
|Awards||Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1827 & 1843)|
Francis Baily (28 April 1774 –30 August 1844) was an English astronomer. He is most famous for his observations of "Baily's beads" during an eclipse of the Sun. Baily was also a major figure in the early history of the Royal Astronomical Society, as one of the founders and president four times.
An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, moons, comets, and galaxies – in either observational or theoretical astronomy. Examples of topics or fields astronomers study include planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies. Related but distinct subjects like physical cosmology, which studies the Universe as a whole.
The Baily's beads effect, or diamond ring effect, is a feature of total and annular solar eclipses. As the Moon covers the Sun during a solar eclipse, the rugged topography of the lunar limb allows beads of sunlight to shine through in some places while not in others. The effect is named after Francis Baily, who explained the phenomenon in 1836. The diamond ring effect is seen when only one bead is left, appearing as a shining "diamond" set in a bright ring around the lunar silhouette.
An eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer. This alignment of three celestial objects is known as a syzygy. Apart from syzygy, the term eclipse is also used when a spacecraft reaches a position where it can observe two celestial bodies so aligned. An eclipse is the result of either an occultation or a transit.
Baily was born at Newbury in Berkshire in 1774 to Richard Baily.After a tour in the unsettled parts of North America in 1796–1797, his journal of which was edited by Augustus de Morgan in 1856, Baily entered the London Stock Exchange in 1799. The successive publication of Tables for the Purchasing and Renewing of Leases (1802), of The Doctrine of Interest and Annuities (1808), and The Doctrine of Life-Annuities and Assurances (1810), earned him a high reputation as a writer on life-contingencies; he amassed a fortune through diligence and integrity and retired from business in 1825, to devote himself wholly to astronomy.
Newbury is a market town in Berkshire, England, which is home to the administrative headquarters of West Berkshire.
London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London, England. As of April 2018, London Stock Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$4.59 trillion. It was founded in 1571, making it one of the oldest exchanges in the world. Its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. It is part of London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).
By 1820, Baily had already taken a leading part in the foundation of the Royal Astronomical Society,and he received its Gold Medal in 1827 for his preparation of the Society's Catalogue of 2881 stars (Memoirs R. Astr. Soc. ii.). Later, in 1843, he would win the Gold Medal again. He was elected as President of the Royal Astronomical Society four times, with two-year terms each (1825–27, 1833–35, 1837–39 and 1843–45). No other person has served in the position more than Baily's four times (a record he shares with George Airy), whilst his eight years in the post are a record.
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is a learned society and charity that encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. Its headquarters are in Burlington House, on Piccadilly in London. The society has over 4,000 members, termed Fellows, most of them professional researchers or postgraduate students. Around a quarter of Fellows live outside the UK. Members of the public who have an interest in astronomy and geophysics but do not qualify as Fellows may become Friends of the RAS.
The Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is the highest award given by the RAS. The RAS Council have "complete freedom as to the grounds on which it is awarded" and as such it can be awarded for any reason. Past awards have been given for "outstanding personal researches in the fields of astronomy and geophysics" as well as general contributions to astronomy and geophysics "that may be made through leadership in research programmes, through education and through scientific administration". It has been awarded both for research that has taken a lifetime and for specific pieces of research.
The President of the Royal Astronomical Society chairs the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and its formal meetings. They also liaise with government organisations, similar societies in other countries, and the International Astronomical Union on behalf of the UK astronomy and geophysics communities. Future presidents serve one year as President Elect before succeeding the previous president.
The reform of the Nautical Almanac in 1829 was set on foot by his protests. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1832.He recommended to the British Association in 1837, and in great part executed, the reduction of Joseph de Lalande's and Nicolas de Lacaille's catalogues containing about 57,000 stars; he superintended the compilation of the British Association's Catalogue of 8377 stars (published 1845); and revised the catalogues of Tobias Mayer, Ptolemy, Ulugh Beg, Tycho Brahe, Edmund Halley and Hevelius (Memoirs R. Astr. Soc. iv, xiii.).
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Founded in 1780, the Academy is dedicated to honoring excellence and leadership, working across disciplines and divides, and advancing the common good.
Tobias Mayer was a German astronomer famous for his studies of the Moon.
Claudius Ptolemy was a Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer, geographer and astrologer. He lived in the city of Alexandria in the Roman province of Egypt, wrote in Koine Greek, and held Roman citizenship. The 14th-century astronomer Theodore Meliteniotes gave his birthplace as the prominent Greek city Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid. This attestation is quite late, however, and, according to Gerald Toomer, the translator of his Almagest into English, there is no reason to suppose he ever lived anywhere other than Alexandria. He died there around AD 168.
His observations of "Baily's Beads", during an annular eclipse of the sun on 15 May 1836, at Inch Bonney in Roxburghshire, started the modern series of eclipse expeditions. The phenomenon, which depends upon the irregular shape of the moon's limb, was so vividly described by him as to attract an unprecedented amount of attention to the total eclipse of 8 July 1842, observed by Baily himself at Pavia.
Roxburghshire or the County of Roxburgh is a historic county and registration county in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It borders Dumfriesshire to the west, Selkirkshire to the north-west, and Berwickshire to the north. To the south-west it borders Cumberland and to the south-east Northumberland, both in England.
Pavia is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, 35 kilometres south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It has a population of c. 73,000. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of the Lombards from 572 to 774.
In other work, he completed and discussed H. Foster's pendulum experiments, deducing from them an ellipticity for the earth of 1/289.48 (Memoirs R. Astr. Soc. vii.). This value was corrected for the length of the seconds-pendulum by introducing a neglected element of reduction, and was used, in 1843, in the reconstruction of the standards of length. His laborious operations for determining the mean density of the earth, carried out by Henry Cavendish's method (1838–1842), yielded the authoritative value of 5.66.
Henry Foster was a British naval officer and scientist who took part in expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic, and made various notable scientific observations.
Henry Cavendish FRS was an English natural philosopher, scientist, and an important experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist. He is noted for his discovery of hydrogen, which he termed "inflammable air". He described the density of inflammable air, which formed water on combustion, in a 1766 paper, On Factitious Airs. Antoine Lavoisier later reproduced Cavendish's experiment and gave the element its name.
Baily died in London on 30 August 1844 and was buried in the family vault in St Mary's Church in Thatcham. His Account of the Rev. John Flamsteed (1835) is of fundamental importance to the scientific history of that time. It included a republication of the British Catalogue.
The lunar crater Baily was named in his honour, as was the rigid and thermally insensitive alloy used to cast the 1855 standard yard (Baily's metal, 16 parts copper, 2.5 parts tin, 1 part zinc) and a local primary school in his home town of Thatcham (Francis Baily CofE Primary School).[ citation needed ]
Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet was an English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, experimental photographer who invented the blueprint, and did botanical work.
The New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars is a catalogue of deep-sky objects compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888. It expands upon the cataloguing work of William and Caroline Herschel, and John Herschel's General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars. The NGC contains 7,840 objects, known as the NGC objects. It is one of the largest comprehensive catalogues, as it includes all types of deep space objects, including galaxies, star clusters, emission nebulae and absorption nebulae. Dreyer also published two supplements to the NGC in 1895 and 1908, known as the Index Catalogues, describing a further 5,386 astronomical objects.
Peter Andreas Hansen was a Danish German astronomer.
Henry Kater was a British physicist of German descent.
Reverend Charles Pritchard was a British astronomer, clergyman, and educational reformer.
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William Lassell, was an English merchant and astronomer. He is remembered for his improvements to the reflecting telescope and his ensuing discoveries of four planetary satellites.
Sir David Gill 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.
John Louis Emil Dreyer was a British astronomer.
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Ercole (Hercules) Dembowski was an Italian astronomer.
The Eddington Medal is awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society for investigations of outstanding merit in theoretical astrophysics. It is named after Sir Arthur Eddington. First awarded in 1953, the frequency of the prize has varied over the years, at times being every one, two or three years. Since 2013 it has been awarded annually.
Warren De la Rue was a British astronomer, chemist, and inventor, most famous for his pioneering work in astronomical photography.
Prof Ralph Allan Sampson FRS FRSE LLD was a British astronomer.
James Dunlop FRSE was a Scottish astronomer, noted for his work in Australia. He served as astronomer's assistant who was hired by Sir Thomas Brisbane to work at his private observatory, once located at Paramatta, New South Wales, about 23 kilometres (14 mi) west of Sydney during the 1820s and 1830s. Dunlop was mostly a visual observer, doing stellar astrometry work for Brisbane, and after its completion, then independently discovered and catalogued many new telescopic southern double stars and deep-sky objects. He later became the Superintendent of Paramatta Observatory when it was finally sold to the New South Wales Government.
The Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (CN) is an astronomical catalogue of nebulae first published in 1786 by William Herschel, with the assistance of his sister Caroline Herschel. It was later expanded into the General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (GC) by his son, John Herschel. The CN and GC are the precursors to John Louis Emil Dreyer's New General Catalogue (NGC) used by current astronomers.
Edwin Dunkin FRS, FRAS was an Cornish astronomer and the president of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Institution of Cornwall.
John Caldecott was an East India Company commercial agent, meteorologist and astronomer who worked in the court of the Raja of Travancore at the Trivandrum Observatory.