Edmond Halley: The man behind the comet

Ehe English astronomer Edmond Halley is best remembered for predicting the return of the comet that now bears his name — but he also did important work in geophysics, mapped the southern stars, and encouraged Newton to Publish his Principia.

Further adventures awaited Halley a few months later, when the Paramore set off once again, this time heading for the Atlantic’s southern reaches. At one point, his crew spied three unusually flat, treeless “islands” that were “covered with snow, milk white with perpendicular cliffs all around them…” These were, of course, icebergs, and as fog descended, the ship came dangerously close to being trapped in ice. Luckily, the Paramore was able to escape northward, eventually reaching the island of Tristan da Chuna, where Halley was able to “recover the warm Sun who we have not seen in aw fortnight.”

The full article can be found in the June issue of Astronomy.