Nov 8, 2011
Another scientific Google Doodle. Yesterday, it was Marie Curie, today Google is celebrating the birthday of English astronomer Edmund Halley (8 November 1656 – 14 January 1742) who is perhaps best known for deriving the orbit of the eponymous comet and being mispronounced by 1950s rock and rollers. Halley was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, following in the footsteps of John Flamsteed.
In November 1703, Halley was appointed Savilian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford. Two years later he published Synopsis Astronomia Cometicae, in which argued that the comet sightings of 1456, 1531, 1607, and 1682 related to the same comet and predicted that it would reappear in 1758. Halley did not live to see its reappearance, but the comet is now commonly known as Halley’s Comet. We last saw Halley’s Comet, which is officially known as 1P/Halley, in 1986 and given its 75-76 year short period around the sun it will not appear to the naked eye in Earth’s skies until around 28th July 2061 (perihelion).