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Halley, Edmund

Born: 1656 AD
Died: 1742 AD

1656 – He was born on the 8th day of November this year at Haggerston, London.

1673 – He studied at St Paul’s School, and then from this year at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

1676 – On leaving Oxford, in this year, he visited the south Atlantic island of St. Helena with the intention of studying stars from the Southern Hemisphere.

1678 – He returned to England in November of this year.

1686 – He published the second part of his expedition, being a paper and chart on trade winds and monsoons.

1682 – Halley married in this year, and settled in Islington. He spent most of his time on lunar observations, but was also interested in the problems of gravity.

1690 – He built a diving bell, in which device the atmosphere was replenished by way of weighted barrels of air sent down from the surface.

1693 – He published an article on life annuities, which featured an analysis of age-at-death taken from the records of Breslau, a Polish-German town known for keeping meticulous records.

1698 – He received a commission as captain of HMS Paramore to make extensive observations on the conditions of terrestrial magnetism. This task he accomplished in an Atlantic voyage, which lasted two years, and extended from 52 degrees north to 52 degrees south.

1703 – He was appointed Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford University. He received an honorary degree of doctor of laws in 1710.

1716 – He suggested a high-precision measurement of the distance between the Earth and the Sun by timing the transit of Venus.


1718 – He discovered the proper motion of the "fixed" stars by comparing his astrometric measurements with those of the Greeks.


1720 – He succeeded John Flamsteed as Astronomer Royal, a position that he held until his death. He was buried at St. Margaret’s Church in Lee in southeast London.


1742 – He died on the 14th day of January this year.