Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Davidson, Charles Rundle

  • Thomas Hockey
Reference work entry

Born28 February 1875

Died18 June 1970

Astronomer Royal  Frank Dysonsent two teams to observe the total solar eclipse of 29 May 1919. One was led by  Arthur Eddington, the other by Charles Davidson, a Greenwich Observatory computer since 1890. Eddington’s and Davidson’s intent was to prove or disprove  Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which predicted that background stars observable during such an eclipse would be displaced from their normal positions by the gravitational effect of the Sun. Davidson, assisted by  Andrew Crommelin, traveled to Sobral, Brazil, while Eddington went to Principe Island. One of Davidson’s telescopes failed, but a backup instrument successfully recorded the stars near the eclipsed Sun. Both the Principe and Sobral data sets showed the predicted displacements. These expeditions were heralded widely as the confirmation of General Relativity.

Selected Reference

  1. Woolley, R. (1971). Charles Rundle Davidson. 1875–1970. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 17: 193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceUniversity of Northern IowaCedar FallsUSA