Halley, Edmond (1656–1742)
- English astronomer best remembered for the realisation that the great comet of 1682 was in fact a periodic comet identical to others seen at 76-year intervals throughout history. Halley later became Astronomer Royal and was one of the circle including Newton, Hooke and others which produced many discoveries in mathematics, physics and astronomy. He carried out researches into gravitation and produced a large number of theories about the catastrophic effects of comet collisions with the Earth (thinking amongst other things that one had caused Noah’s flood). But he did not live to see his reputation established for ever by the return of his comet, formally called Comet Halley or Comet P/Halley, as predicted, in 1758.