HM Nautical Almanac Office
Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO), now part of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office is an organisation within the UK government responsible for providing navigational and other hydrographic information for national, civil and defence requirements...

, was established in 1832 on the site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO), where the Nautical Almanac
The Nautical Almanac
The Nautical Almanac has been the familiar name for a series of official British almanacs published under various titles since the first issue of The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris, for 1767: this was the first nautical almanac ever to contain data dedicated to the convenient...

had been published since 1767. HMNAO produces astronomical data for a wide range of users, such as astronomers, mariners, aviators, surveyors, the military, Police, lawyers, religious groups, architects, schools, diary and calendar manufacturers, photographers and film crews.

In 1937 it became part of RGO and moved with it, first to Herstmonceux, near Hailsham
Hailsham is a civil parish and the largest of the five main towns in the Wealden district of East Sussex, England. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the town of Hailsham has had a long history of industry and agriculture...

 in East Sussex
East Sussex
East Sussex is a county in South East England. It is bordered by the counties of Kent, Surrey and West Sussex, and to the south by the English Channel.-History:...

 in 1948, then to Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 in 1990. When RGO closed in 1998 HMNAO was transferred to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is one of the national scientific research laboratories in the UK operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council . It is located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus at Chilton near Didcot in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom...

, near Abingdon
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Abingdon or archaically Abingdon-on-Thames is a market town and civil parish in Oxfordshire, England. It is the seat of the Vale of White Horse district. Previously the county town of Berkshire, Abingdon is one of several places that claim to be Britain's oldest continuously occupied town, with...

 in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

. In December 2006, HMNAO was transferred to the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office is an organisation within the UK government responsible for providing navigational and other hydrographic information for national, civil and defence requirements...

, which is based in Taunton
Taunton is the county town of Somerset, England. The town, including its suburbs, had an estimated population of 61,400 in 2001. It is the largest town in the shire county of Somerset....

 in Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...


Superintendents of the Nautical Almanac

  • Thomas Young
    Thomas Young (scientist)
    Thomas Young was an English polymath. He is famous for having partly deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics before Jean-François Champollion eventually expanded on his work...

     (1818–1829) — physicist
    A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

     and polymath
    A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

  • John Pond
    John Pond
    John Pond FRS was a renowned English astronomer who became the sixth Astronomer Royal, serving from 1811 to 1835.- Biography :...

     (1829–1831) — Astronomer Royal
    Astronomer Royal
    Astronomer Royal is a senior post in the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. There are two officers, the senior being the Astronomer Royal dating from 22 June 1675; the second is the Astronomer Royal for Scotland dating from 1834....

  • W. S. Stratford (1831–1853) — set up a central bureaucracy to replace the system of home-based computer
    A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

  • John Russell Hind
    John Russell Hind
    John Russell Hind FRS was an English astronomer.- Life and work :John Russell Hind was born in 1823 in Nottingham, the son of lace manufacturer John Hind, and was educated at Nottingham High School...

     (1853–1891) — discovered a number of asteroid
    Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

    s in the earlier part of his career
  • A. M. W. Downing (1891–1910)
  • Philip Herbert Cowell
    Philip Herbert Cowell
    Philip Herbert Cowell was a British astronomer.Philip Herbert Cowell was born in calcutta, India and educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He became second chief assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in 1896 and later became the Superintendent of HM Nautical Almanac Office during...

     (1910–1930) — best remembered for his work with Andrew Crommelin
    Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin
    Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin was a Irish-born, British astronomer of Huguenot descent. He was born in Cushendun, County Antrim, and educated in England at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory and went on several solar eclipse...

     on the calculation of the orbit of Halley's Comet by numerical integration, in preparation for its return in 1910
  • Leslie Comrie
    Leslie Comrie
    Leslie John Comrie was an astronomer and a pioneer in mechanical computation.-Life:Leslie John Comrie was born in Pukekohe , New Zealand, on 15 August 1893....

     (1930–1936) — a pioneer of numerical computation
  • D. H. Sadler (1936–1970)
  • G. A. Wilkins (1970–1989)
  • B. D. Yallop (1989–1996)

Heads of HM Nautical Almanac Office

  • A. T. Sinclair (1996–1998)
  • P. T. Wallace (1998–2006)
  • S. A. Bell (2006–present)


  • The Astronomical Almanac (jointly with the United States Naval Observatory
    United States Naval Observatory
    The United States Naval Observatory is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the United States, with a primary mission to produce Positioning, Navigation, and Timing for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense...

  • The Nautical Almanac
    Nautical Almanac
    Nautical Almanac can refer to:* Nautical almanac - a publication describing the positions and movements of celestial bodies* American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac - first published in 1852* U.S...

    (jointly with the USNO)
  • Astronomical Phenomena (jointly with the USNO)
  • The Star Almanac
  • The UK Air Almanac
  • Rapid Sight Reduction Tables for Navigation
  • Planetary and Lunar Coordinates

External links

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