Airy, Sir George Biddell, 1801-92, English astronomer. The son of a poor farmer, he distinguished himself as Senior Wrangler at Cambridge, where he was elected fellow of Trinity College (1824) and appointed professor (1826). As Astronomer Royal and director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory from 1835 to 1881, he organized the efficient and accurate observation of stellar positions. Airy wrote many governmental reports on astronomical and other subjects, published works on celestial mechanics, and made discoveries in theoretical and practical optics, including the cylindrical lens for correcting astigmatism, an eye defect he himself possessed.

See his autobiography (1896).

Airy-0 is a crater on Mars whose location defines the position of the prime meridian of that planet. Airy-0 is about 0.5 kilometers across and lies within the larger crater Airy in the region Sinus Meridiani.

Airy crater was named in honor of the British Astronomer Royal Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-1892), who in 1850 built the "transit circle" telescope at Greenwich. The location of that telescope was subsequently chosen to define the location of Earth's prime meridian.

The selection of this crater as Mars' prime meridian was made by Merton Davies in 1969 based on Mariner 6 and 7 photographs.


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