Halley, Edmond[halee, hawlee]
Astronomer and mathematician, born in London, England, UK. He studied at Oxford, but left without taking a degree to undertake cataloguing the stars of the S hemisphere. He published his catalogue in 1687 and was elected a member of the Royal Society, as well as receiving his degree after intercession by the king. He then began a study of planetary orbits, and correctly predicted the return in 1758 of the comet now named after him. He published studies on magnetic variations (1683), trade winds and monsoons (1686), and sea-charts of magnetic variation (1701). He encouraged Isaac Newton to write his celebrated Principia (1687), and paid for the publication out of his own pocket. With his Breslau Table of Mortality (1693), he laid the actuarial foundations for life insurance and annuities. In 1720 he became astronomer-royal.