Edmond Halley, the English astronomer who computed the orbit and named the famous Halley’s Comet, was born on this date in 1656. Today, in honor of Halley’s birthday, a special logo appears on Google’s UK home page.
Halley was the second Astronomer Royal and contributed to the scientific knowledge of the day in a number of ways.
He convinced Sir Issac Newton to publish Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), which was published at Halley’s expense. He also created one of the first working models of a magnetic compass and his mathematics skills helped develop actuarial tables for life insurance.
He also commanded the first scientific voyage by a British vessel that tested the compass and his study of terrestrial magnetism.
“In 1705, applying historical astronomy methods, he published Synopsis Astronomia Cometicae, which stated his belief that the comet sightings of 1456, 1531, 1607, and 1682 related to the same comet, which he predicted would return in 1758. Halley did not live to witness the comet’s return, but when it did, the comet became generally known as Halley’s Comet,” Wikipedia stated.
Halley’s comet is expected back in 2061 and was last seen in 1986.