The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2007 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, F. Jamil Ragep, JoAnn Palmeri, Marvin Bolt

Baily, Francis

Reference work entry

BornNewbury, Berkshire, England, 28 April 1774

DiedLondon, England, 30 August 1844

Although he is better known for his recording of the solar eclipse phenomenon now known as Baily's beads, Francis Baily's most important contributions to astronomy include his recomputation and republication of important star catalogs, and his determination of the ellipticity and density of the Earth.

Before turning his wealth to his interest in astronomy, Baily had many adventures. The third son of banker Richard Baily, he had been apprenticed to a London mercantile firm at the age of 14. But by the age of 21, when he had completed his apprenticeship, Baily had instead decided on a career as an explorer. In October 1795, Baily sailed to the United States, where his youthful energy carried him through 2 years of exploration along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to New Orleans, Louisiana. He returned to New York City overland through the rugged back‐woods areas. A...

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Selected References

  1. Anon. (1854). “Biographical note.” Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society 23: 81–83.Google Scholar
  2. Baily, Francis (1835). An Account of the Revd. John Flamsteed. (Reprint, London: Dawson, 1966.)Google Scholar
  3. ——— (1838). “On a Remarkable Phenomena that occurs in Total and Annular Eclipses of the Sun.” Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society 10: 1–42.Google Scholar
  4. ——— (1846). “Some remarks on a Total Eclipse of the Sun, on July 8th, 1842.” Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society 15: 1–8.Google Scholar
  5. Clerke, Agnes M. (1921–1922). “Francis Baily.” In Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. Vol. 1, pp. 899–904. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

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