George Biddell Airy

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Airy, George Biddell


Born July 27, 1801, in Alnwick; died Jan. 2, 1892, in London. British astronomer. Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1836).

From 1826 to 1835, Airy was a professor at Cambridge University. In 1828, he became the director of the Cambridge observatory. From 1835 to 1881, he was the astronomer royal, or the director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

Airy’s main works dealt with theoretical astronomy and astronomical optics. Airy developed methods for determining the solar parallax and the solar apex. He designed and introduced a reflecting zenith telescope and a chronograph. In 1874, Airy headed a British expedition for the observation of a transit of Venus across the sun.


[Turner, H. H.] “George Biddell Airy” (obituary). Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1892, vol. 52.