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Astronomer Royal





An honorary title held by a prominent British astronomer, created in 1675 by King Charles II when the Royal Greenwich Observatory was founded. Before 1971, the Astronomer Royal was also director of the Royal Observatory, but after that year these became separate appointments. The title of Astronomer Royal for Scotland was created in 1834 and held by the director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, until 1995 when the appointments were separated.


The Astronomers Royal
name lived served
John Flamsteed 1646–1719 1675–1719
Edmond Halley 1656–1742 1720–1742
James Bradley 1693–1762 1742–1762
Nathaniel Bliss 1700–1764 1762–1764
Nevil Maskelyne 1732–1811 1765–1811
James Pond 1767–1836 1811–1835
George Biddell Airy 1801–1892 1835–1881
William Henry Mahoney Christie 1845–1922 1884–1910
Frank Watson Dyson 1868–1939 1910–1933
Harold Spencer Jones 1890–1960 1933–1955
Richard van der Riet Woolley 1906–1986 1956–1971
Martin Ryle 1918–1984 1972–1982
Francis Graham-Smith 1923– 1982–1990
Arnold W. Wolfendale 1927– 1990–1995
Martin Rees 1942– 1995–


Related category

   • HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY