Wednesday Jul 07, 2021
Queen Elizabeth’s thousand-man staff has an astronomer whom she consults on ‘scientific matters’, as well as a person to ‘wear out’ her shoes and even someone to taste her food for security concerns.
The position of royal astronomer however is one that dates back to the sixteen hundreds.
The current holder of the royal of Astronomer Royal title is astrophysicist Martin Rees who has held the position since 1995.
Throughout the years, this role has accounted for a number of scientific discoveries, including the reappearance of Halley’s Comet.
As per the 350 year tradition, he is paid an annual salary of £100, which translates to £20,646.85 in 2020, according to the inflation calculator from the Bank of England.
The first ever recipient of the title was John Flamsteed back in June of 1675 during the reign of King Charles II.
He “draw up a map of the heavens with enough accuracy to be reliable for navigation" according to the Royal Museums Greenwich and ended up recording the earliest sightings of Uranus, which, at the time was mistaken for a star.
At the time the ruling King of the time made the decree that Astronomer Royals would “Forthwith to apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so-much desired longitude of places, for the perfecting the art of navigation.”