Past Astronomer Royals

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Astronomer Royal

The Astronomer Royal is a royal appointment initiated by King Charles II, who founded the Royal Greenwich Observatory in 1675. The Astronomer Royal was given initial instructions to study the stars in order to develop a reliable method of navigation. Subsequent astronomer royals were also the heads of the Greenwich Observatory up until 1972 where the title become an honoury one.

The table below lists all of the past astronomers who have held the title Astronomer Royal.

Astronomer Royal Time in Office
Martin Rees 1995-present
Arnold Wolfendale 1991-1995
Francis Smith 1982-1990
Martin Ryle 1972-1982
Richard van der Riet Woolley 1956-1971
Harold Spencer Jones 1933-1955
Frank Dyson 1910-1933
William Christie 1881-1910
George Airy 1835-1881
John Pond 1811-1835
Nevil Maskelyne 1765-1811
Nathaniel Bliss 1762-1764
James Bradley 1742-1762
Edmond Halley 1720-1742
John Flamsteed 1675-1719
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