Lockyer, Sir Joseph Norman

Lockyer, Sir Joseph Norman lŏkˈyər [key], 1836–1920, English astronomer, educated on the Continent. One of the first to make a spectroscopic examination of the sun and stars, he devised (1868), independently of P. J. C. Janssen, a method of observing solar prominences with the spectroscope in daylight. In the same year he discovered the element helium in the sun and applied the name chromosphere to the layer, or envelope, of gas around the sun. He was elected to fellowship in the Royal Society (1869) and served as professor of astronomical physics of the newly founded Royal College of Science and director of the Solar Physics Observatory (1890–1913). Between 1870 and 1905 he headed eight government expeditions to observe total eclipses of the sun. He was knighted in 1897. His works include Studies in Spectrum Analysis (1872), Contributions to Solar Physics (1874), The Chemistry of the Sun (1887), and The Sun's Place in Nature (1897).

See biography by A. J. Meadows (1972).

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