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Birth of Edmond Halley

Posted in Anniversary, Science, Space on Thursday, 28 October 2010

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picture, Edmond Halley, Sir Isaac Newton

Edmond Halley asked Sir Isaac Newton about planetary motion. Illustration by Pat Nicolle

8 November marks the anniversary of the birth of Edmond Halley in 1656. Born in Haggerston, Shoreditch, Halley published papers on the solar system and sunspots whilst at Queen’s College, Oxford. He studied and mapped stars and pondered the mystery of planetary motion. Visiting Sir Isaac Newton, he found that the physicist and mathematician had solved the problem years before but had not published anything. Halley paid for the publication of Newton’s Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis.

Halley is today remembered for computing the period of orbit of the comet which has his name, correctly predicting that it would return to the night skies in 1758 and every 76 years thereafter.

picture, Halley's Comet

Halley’s Comet. Illustration by Harry Green

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