Halley, Edmund (1656-1742), an English astronomer, was born at Haggerston and educated at St. Paul's school and Queen's College, Oxford.
He began his astronomical studies as a schoolboy, and was elected to the Royal Society at the age of 22. He had previously been to St. Helena and made a catalogue of the southern stars. In 1684 he made the acquaintance of Newton, and found that he had been anticipated by him in his discovery of the nature of the centripetal force in the solar system. He formed a close intimacy with Sir Isaac, and defrayed the cost of publication of the Prindpia, besides seeing it through the press.
He also made charts of the winds on the tropical seas and of the tides in the English Channel. In 1703 he became professor of astronomy at Oxford, having previously been refused that post owing to his supposed materialistic views. From 1713 to 1721 he was secretary of the Royal Society, and in 1720 became Astronomer Royal. The comet which lie observed and whose return he-predicted, has perpetuated his name. Besides the discoveries mentioned, Halley made many others, such as those relating to the magnetic variation of the compass and the acceleration of the moon's motion. His Tabula: Astronomical appeared in 1749.