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Joseph Norman Lockyer F.R.S. (1836-1920), astronomer and solar physicist.
9.8 x 7.1 in (248 mm x 182 mm)
Paul Frecker provides the following comments:
"Born in Rugby on 17 May 1836, Lockyer started working as a civil servant and pursued his interest in astronomy on an amateur basis. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 14 March 1862, his rising reputation as a solar physicist led to his appointment in 1885 as Director of the Solar Physics Observatory in South Kensington.
Lockyer made numerous major contributions to the rising field of spectroscopy. In 1868 he fitted a spectrograph on a telescope in a way that allowed him to study prominences and the outer solar atmosphere on a routine basis (as opposed to only at times of total eclipse). He coined the term 'chromosphere', still in use today, for the outer layers of the solar atmosphere. In France, Jules Janssen was simultaneously and independently proceeding along very similar lines and coming to similar conclusions. The following year, and this time working in collaboration with Janssen, Lockyer identified a chromospheric spectral line of a hitherto unknown chemical element, which he named 'helium.' Helium was finally isolated in the laboratory in 1895 by William Ramsay, following which Lockyer was knighted.
In 1869 Lockyer founded the journal Nature and remained its editor for fifty years. It is to this day one of the leading general scientific journals.
In the early 1890's Lockyer became interested in possible astronomical alignments of ancient Greek and Egyptian monuments and temples, and in 1901 he extended his studies to Stonehenge. Once approximate alignment of a given monument had been identified, he had the interesting idea to date the monument by assuming exact alignment at time of construction and interpreting the difference in terms of the precession of the Earth's orbital axis. His derived age of 1848 BC for the construction of Stonehenge was spectacularly confirmed much later, in 1952, by radiocarbon dating. Although many of Lockyer's hypotheses and conclusions were not universally well received and often did not survive the test of time, he is to be credited with founding the field of Archeoastronomy.
He died on 16 August 1920 in Salcombe Regis, Devon."
Photographed by the society photographer Stanilaus Walery of 164, Regent Street, London, and published in 1888 as part of a series entitled Men and Women of the Day. Walery practised in Paris before moving to London to open a studio in Conduit Street in May 1883. He operated from this Regent Street address between 1887 and 1890.