Edmond Halley Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1656 - 1742 *** Full Name: Edmond Halley *** Occupation: English Astronomer, Meteorologist, Geophysicist, Physicist and Mathematician *** Date of Birth: Edmond Halley was born on November 8th 1656 *** Place of Birth: Edmond Halley was born in Haggerston, London, England *** Family background: His father was Edmond Halley Sr was a soap maker of some wealth in London, with family ties to Derbyshire *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in London *** Education: Edmond Halley attended St Paul’s School and later attended The Queen’s College in Oxford, as an undergraduate he published papers on Sunspots and the Solar System ***
Edmond Halley Fact 1: Edmond Halley was born on November 7th 1656 and during the 17th century period in history when Europeans began to colonize the America’s in earnest, the Ming Dynasty began to collapse, in the Near East, the Persian, Ottoman and Mughal empires were on the rise and many innovations were being made in science, medicine, technology and industry.
Edmond Halley Fact 2: In 1675 he became the assistant of John Flamsteed who was the Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory. His job was to observe and number the stars using what became known as Flamsteed numbers.
Edmond Halley Fact 3: During 1676 he went to visit Saint Helena, one of the South Atlantic islands where he set up an observatory using a large sextant that had a telescopic sight attached and began to catalogue the stars he could see in the southern hemisphere.
Edmond Halley Fact 4: In May of 1678 he made his return to England and the following year before travelling to Danzig for the Royal Society in order to assist with a dispute.
Edmond Halley Fact 5: Catalogus Stellarum Australium was published in 1679, the results of Halley’s observations of over three hundred stars while he was on St Helena.
Edmond Halley Fact 6: In 1686 he would publish the second part of his St Helenian expedition results.
Edmond Halley Fact 7: Much of his time was spent on lunar observations but his interest also revolved around gravity and its complications.
Edmond Halley Fact 8: One such problem was that of Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion and the proof thereof.
Edmond Halley Fact 9: During 1684 he attended Cambridge where he entered into discussions with Isaac Newton on Kepler’s Laws and he said he had in fact solved the problem but had not published his findings. Halley asked to see them but Newton could not find them and promised to reproduce them and show him, which he did.
Edmond Halley Fact 10: When Halley discovered and realized how important this information was he immediately returned to Cambridge to pursued Newton to have his work published, instead he worked on it further.
Edmond Halley Fact 11: During 1691 he built a diving bell. Together with five other men they used the bell to stay submerged at a depth of sixty feet for an hour and a half in the River Thames. The device worked by having the atmosphere refilled by barrels of air sent from the surface and weighed down.Edmond Halley Fact 16: In 1706 he learned how to read Arabic in order to finish a translation started by Edward Bernard of Books V-VIII of Apolloniu’s Conics.
Edmond Halley Fact 12: Also in 1691 he produced a very basic type of magnetic compass.
Edmond Halley Fact 13: In 1698 he was put in command of HMS Paramour a ship that would carry him around the South Atlantic while he investigated the laws governing the variation of his compass.
Edmond Halley Fact 14: In 1703 he would finally be appointed to the University of Oxford as its Savilian Professor of Geometry, this being possible because two of the men responsible for denying him the honor previously, had died and he was given an honorary degree of doctor of laws during 1710.
Edmond Halley Fact 15: It was in 1705 that he established a connection between the sightings of comets in 1456, 1531, 1607 and 1682 that being that the comet was in fact the same one. He predicted it would be seen again in 1758 and although he was not alive to witness its return, it nevertheless did and would become known as Halley’s Comet.
Edmond Halley Fact 17: In 1716 a devised a measurement of high precision to gage the distance between the Sun and the Earth by timing the transit of Venus.
Edmond Halley Fact 18: In 1720 he followed John Falmsteed as Astronomer Royal and held that position until he died.
Edmond Halley Fact 19: On January 14th 1742 Edmond Halley died in Greenwich, Kent aged eighty five years. His body laid to rest at St Margaret’s church.
Influence & Legacy of Edmond Halley: The trailing winds symbols he used in his time are still used on modern weather charts. Halley’s Comet is so named in honor of his prediction of its return in 1758.
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