George Biddell Airy

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Another leading London clockmaker, Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780-1854) had succeeded his father as Keeper of Her Majesty's Clocks at Buckingham Palace, and on his death, Frodsham was appointed to the prestigious role on the recommendation of George Biddell Airy, the Astronomer Royal.
Most, however, compared it to the bright band bordering the limb of the airless Moon that had been reported during the partial phases of solar eclipses, a phenomenon that Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy had dismissed in 1864 as "strictly an ocular nervous phenomenon." In the 1881 edition of his classic observing handbook Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes, the Reverend Thomas William Webb wrote off the halos as "deceptions from the violent contrast and the fatigue of the eye." To the French astronomer Camille Flammarion, they called to mind the illusory bright aura that he repeatedly saw surrounding the shadow cast by a hot air balloon onto sunlit prairies during his many ascents.
This meeting, held in the scarcely-completed Leeds Town Hall, was attended by Sir John Herschel, and it was with the assistance of Sir John and other astronomical luminaries (including George Biddell Airy, Astronomer Royal) that the Leeds AS took shape.
"Airy beams" are named after English astronomer Sir George Biddell Airy, who studied the parabolic trajectories of light in rainbows, and were first created at the University of Central Florida.
For decades, physicists have known that quantum theory allows for wavelike objects to follow curved trajectories known as Airy functions, after the 19th-century British astronomer George Biddell Airy. Scientists have now managed to bend a beam of light into just such a shape.
For Adams, working out a new planet's position was sparked by a chance look at an 1832 "Report on Progress in Astronomy" by Cambridge University astronomer George Biddell Airy, who became Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory in 1835.
Having settled at Tuddenham St Martin, near Ipswich, Ken became fascinated with the history of Orwell Park Observatory, its 10-inch refractor and the former Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy, who had also lived in Suffolk.
Famous connections: The Earls and Dukes of Northumberland, most notably Harry "Hotspur" Percy, 19th Century Astronomer Royal Sir George Biddell Airy, darts commentator and broadcaster Sid Waddell (who was also former Yorkshire shove ha'penny champion).
Also on This Day: 1635: The AcademieFrancaise founded by Cardinal Richelieu; 1727: Birth of General James Wolfe; 1769: The Royal Academy was inaugurated with Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first President; 1891: Death of Astronomer Royal Sir George Biddell Airy;1920: Birth of Russian-born American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov; 1939: A crowd of 118,567, the largest gate for a soccer league match in Britain, saw the Glasgow Rangers v Celtic match at Ibrox Stadium.
George Biddell Airy, Astronomer Royal and a tide expert, noticed Halley's mistake and reopened the subject.
Sir George Biddell Airy, the man who created the International Time Zones was born in the market town.
This meridian is marked with brass in the cobblestone pavement in front of the shed that houses the transit circle acquired and operated by George Biddell Airy, the seventh Astronomer Royal.