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Harold Spencer Jones

Born: 29-Mar-1890
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 3-Nov-1960
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer

Nationality: England
Executive summary: 10th Royal Astronomer of England

Military service: UK Ministry of Munitions (WWI)

Sir Harold Spencer Jones showed that perceived variations in the motion of other planets were in fact caused by irregularities in the Earth's orbit, leading him to establish the inadequacy of basing precise measures of time on the Earth's rotation. In the early 1930s, he led a worldwide effort by numerous astronomers to determine the exact distance from Earth to the Sun by triangulating the path of the passing asteroid Eros. In 1933 he was appointed the Royal Astronomer of England. He was born Harold Jones, but worked his entire career under the surname Spencer Jones, and never publicly explained the reason for the change.

Father: Henry Charles Jones (accountant)
Mother: Sarah Ryland Jones (teacher)
Wife: Gladys Mary Owens Spencer Jones (m. 1918, two sons)

    High School: Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, England (1909)
    University: BS, Cambridge University (1913)
    Scholar: Royal Observatory at Greenwich (1913-23)
    Administrator: His Majesty's Astronomer, Royal Observatory at Cape of Good Hope (1923-33)
    Administrator: Director, Royal Observatory at Greenwich (1933-55)

    Astronomer Royal (1933-55)
    International Astronomical Union President (1943-48)
    Royal Astronomical Society President (1937-39)
    Knight of the British Empire 1955
    Bruce Medal 1949
    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1943
    Royal Medal 1943
    International Council for Science
    Royal Institution of Great Britain
    Royal Society 1930
    Royal Astronomical Society
    Asteroid Namesake 3282 Spencer Jones
    Lunar Crater Spencer Jones Crater

Author of books:
General Astronomy (1924)
Worlds without End (1935)
Life on Other Worlds (1940)


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