Sir Harold Spencer Jones
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Christmas Island, 1977

Harold Spencer Jones (1890–1960) was Britain’s tenth Astronomer Royal. He began his career as Chief Assistant at Greenwich in 1913, in which capacity he led an expedition to Christmas Island in 1922 to observe the deflection of light around the Sun at a total solar eclipse, an observation first made by his predecessor, Arthur Stanley Eddington. In the event they were clouded out but Christmas Island recalled his visit on this stamp issued in 1977, the highest-value member of a set of 16 devoted to famous visitors. The instrument shown in the background is the 13-inch Greenwich astrographic telescope with 10-inch guiding telescope, which was shipped out to Christmas Island and installed on a mounting tailored to the near-equatorial latitude.

Spencer Jones (he preferred being called that rather than simply Jones) was appointed H.M. Astronomer at the Cape in 1923, returning to Britain in 1933 to become Astronomer Royal. As such he instigated the move of the Royal Observatory from Greenwich to glorious Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, after World War II.

Stanley Gibbons no. 82

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