William Christie (astronomer)
Sir William Henry Mahoney Christie FRS  (1 October 1845 – 22 January 1922) was a British astronomer
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...


He was born in Woolwich, London, the son of Samuel Hunter Christie
Samuel Hunter Christie
Samuel Hunter Christie was a British scientist and mathematician.He studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge where he was second wrangler. He was particularly interested in magnetism, studying the earth's magnetic field and designing improvements to the magnetic compass...

 and educated at King's College London
King's College London
King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's has a claim to being the third oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, and...

, and at Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

. He was fourth wrangler in 1868 and elected a fellow of Trinity in 1869.

Having been Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich from 1870 to 1881, he was appointed to replace George Airy
George Biddell Airy
Sir George Biddell Airy PRS KCB was an English mathematician and astronomer, Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881...

 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....

 in 1881 and remained in office until 1910. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1904. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June, 1881. He was president of the Royal Astronomical Society
Royal Astronomical Society
The Royal Astronomical Society is a learned society that began as the Astronomical Society of London in 1820 to support astronomical research . It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving its Royal Charter from William IV...

 from 1882 to 1885.

The first Astronomer Royal to retire at 65 (all previous incumbents bar Airy and John Pond
John Pond
John Pond FRS was a renowned English astronomer who became the sixth Astronomer Royal, serving from 1811 to 1835.- Biography :...

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

 had been forced by poor health to resign in 1835, while Airy retired aged 81), Christie died and was buried at sea near Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 in 1922. He had married in 1881 Mary Violette, daughter of Sir Alfred Hickman.

External links

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