James Bradley

James Bradley

Birth
Sherborne, Cotswold District, Gloucestershire, England
Death 13 Mar 1762 (aged 68–69)
Chalford, Stroud District, Gloucestershire, England
Burial Minchinhampton, Stroud District, Gloucestershire, England
Memorial ID 87238107 · View Source
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Astronomer, Scientist. He was the third English Astronomer Royal, a position he held from 1742 until his death. He is best known for his two fundamental astronomical discoveries, the aberration of light (an astronomical phenomenon which produces an apparent motion of celestial objects about their real locations) and the nutation, or movement, of the Earth's axis. He enrolled in Balliol College, Oxford, in 1711 with the intent of becoming a minister, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1714 and a M.A degree in 1717. During this time he became interested in astronomy under the tutelage of his uncle, the Reverend James Pound, who was a skilled astronomer. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1718 and became vicar of Bridstow the following year. Shortly afterward he resigned his vicarship when he was appointed to the Savilian chair of astronomy at Oxford. Between 1725 and 1726 he worked with Samuel Molyneux, a member of the English parliament and amateur astronomer, at Molyneux's private observatory in Kew, England, where he observed the apparent displacement of Gamma Draconis (a star in the constellation Draco) when he measured its distance to the Earth, leading him to discover the aberration of light. Between 1727 and 1748 he conducted observations of the Earth's moon, from which he discovered nutation of the Earth's axis. In 1742, upon the death of Edmund Halley (of Halley's Comet fame), he was appointed as successor to the position of Astronomer Royal. Between 1748 and 1762 he made over 60,000 observations that were published in two volumes (one in 1798 and the other in 1805) after his death.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
  • Added: 23 Mar 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 87238107
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Bradley (Mar 1693–13 Mar 1762), Find a Grave Memorial no. 87238107, citing Holy Trinity Churchyard, Minchinhampton, Stroud District, Gloucestershire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .