Harold Spencer Jones
Sir Harold Spencer Jones KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 FRS (29 March 1890 Kensington
Kensington is a district of west and central London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.To the north, Kensington is...

, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

  – 3 November 1960) was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

. Although born "Jones", his surname became "Spencer Jones".
In 1913 he became Chief Assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. In 1933 he became 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....

. He was president of the International Astronomical Union
International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

 from 1945 to 1948.

He determined the solar parallax
Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. The term is derived from the Greek παράλλαξις , meaning "alteration"...

 from observations of 433 Eros
433 Eros
433 Eros is a near-Earth asteroid discovered in 1898, and the first asteroid to be orbited by a probe . It is an S-type asteroid approximately 34.4×11.2×11.2 km in size, the second-largest NEA after 1036 Ganymed, and belongs to the Amor group.Eros is a Mars-crosser asteroid, the first known...

 during its close approach in 1930–1931.

Spencer Jones's successor as 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....

 was Richard Woolley
Richard van der Riet Woolley
Richard van der Riet Woolley was an English astronomer who became Astronomer Royal. His mother's maiden name was Van der Riet....

, who on taking up the position in 1956 responded to a question from the press by saying "Space travel is utter bilge". Similarly, it is often stated that Spencer Jones himself had a strong disbelief in the practicalities of space flight, and that he famously said "space travel is bunk" only two weeks before the Sputnik launch in October 1957. However, there is no evidence that he did in fact say this, then or at any other time..

Honours and awards

  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    -History:In the early years, more than one medal was often awarded in a year, but by 1833 only one medal was being awarded per year. This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier...

  • Royal Medal
    Royal Medal
    The Royal Medal, also known as The Queen's Medal, is a silver-gilt medal awarded each year by the Royal Society, two for "the most important contributions to the advancement of natural knowledge" and one for "distinguished contributions in the applied sciences" made within the Commonwealth of...

  • Bruce Medal
    Bruce Medal
    The Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal is awarded every year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for outstanding lifetime contributions to astronomy. It is named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patroness of astronomy, and was first awarded in 1898...


Named after him
  • The crater Spencer Jones
    Spencer Jones (crater)
    Spencer Jones is a lunar impact crater on the Moon's far side. It is a roughly circular feature with a rim edge that is only moderately eroded. The inner wall of Spencer Jones is wider than elsewhere. The interior floor is relatively level with a low ridge offset to the south of the mid-point...

     on the Moon
    The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

  • The crater Jones on Mars
    Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

  • 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...

     3282 Spencer Jones
    3282 Spencer Jones
    3282 Spencer Jones is a main-belt asteroid discovered on February 19, 1949 by Goethe Link Observatory at Brooklyn.- External links :*...

External links

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