Astronomer Royal


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Astronomer Royal

(ă-stron -ŏ-mer) An eminent British astronomer appointed by the UK sovereign to the post of Astronomer Royal of England. The appointment is made on the advice of the government-funded body responsible for astronomy research and facilities in the UK. Since 1994, this has been the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC). The office of Astronomer Royal is an honorary position that, until the retirement of Sir Richard Woolley in 1971, was combined with the post of Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO). The two titles were separated when Margaret Burbidge became Director of the RGO in 1971 and Sir Martin Ryle became Astronomer Royal in 1972. The first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, was appointed by Charles II in 1675 following the foundation of the RGO in that year. The 15th Astronomer Royal, the cosmologist Sir Martin Rees, was appointed in 1995. A full list of Astronomers Royal appears in the table.

The office of Astronomer Royal for Scotland was created by Royal Warrant in 1834, with Thomas Henderson as its first incumbent. The title was originally held by the astronomer who served as both Director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (ROE), and Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. Malcolm Longair was the ninth holder of the office, succeeding Vincent Reddish to the title in 1980. Longair held the post until 1991. The title then lapsed until 1995, by which time the decision had been taken to separate the Regius professorship and the directorship of the ROE. In the process, the office of Astronomer Royal for Scotland also became an independent post. The eminent solar and stellar specialist John Campbell Brown, professor of astrophysics at the University of Glasgow, was appointed Astronomer Royal for Scotland under the new regime in 1995.

References in periodicals archive ?
Not the Astronomer Royal for nothing, Maskelyne describes how "with the help of a pocket compass and small wooden quadrant, I found the bearing of the place in the sky .
Winning the French Guineas on Astronomer Royal in 2007 was extra special as it was my first Classic win.
Martin Rees, Britain's Astronomer Royal, last year praised Beagle 2 and its eccentric creator Pillinger, who had died at age 70, saying: "This was a failure, but a heroic failure.
Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees said: "The ancients were correct in their belief that the heavens and the motion of astronomical bodies affect life on Earth, just not in the way they imagined.
Judges on the panel for the prize include astronomer royal Martin Rees, this year's chair; James McConnachie; political writer and historian Peter Hennessy; director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti; and classicist Mary Beard.
The members of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, led by Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and including Stephen Hawking, have said that the once the threats are identified they intend to devise methods to protect mankind, News.
Two notable examples are: the 8ft mural quadrant made for the second Astronomer Royal Edmond Halley and the 12ft zenith sector device made for James Bradley, who succeeded Halley as Astronomer Royal in 1742.
Professor Martin Rees, the astronomer royal, who will speak at the event, said: "When I first met Stephen it was thought that he might not live long enough even to finish his PhD degree.
John Flamsteed was appointed as the first Astronomer Royal and tasked with drawing a map of the heavens that could be used reliably for navigation at sea.
10am, Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage * Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society, explores the challenges facing science in the 21st century.
Rees, who was awarded the honorary title of Astronomer Royal in 1995, has also been a leading theorist of the "multiverse.
Jon is one of the guests this weekend celebrating the 700th episode of The Sky at Night, alongside scientific luminaries including presenter Sir Patrick Moore, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees and telly prof Brian Cox.