Evershed, John 1864 - 1956

English; British

(1864-1956), astronomer

John Evershed was born on the 26th of February 1864 in Gomshall, Surrey. He was a British astronomer who, in 1909, discovered the horizontal motion of gases outward from the centres of sunspots; a phenonema sometimes called the Evershed effect. In 1890 he was a founder member of the British Astronomical Association.

Evershed went on six expeditions in his career to observe total solar eclipses from Norway (1896), India (1898), Spain (1905), Australia (1922) and Yorkshire (1927). On his Norway expedition in 1896 he met Mary Acworth Orr, who he later married in 1906. In 1906 Evershed became assistant director of the Kodaikanal and Madras observatories in India, later becoming director in 1911. On an expedition to Kashmir in 1915, he made the first measurements supporting Albert Einstein's prediction that the wavelength of light emitted by a massive body (in this case the Sun) should be increased by an amount proportional to the intensity of the local gravitational field. In 1915 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society and in 1918 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, for his contributions to astrophysics.

Evershed retired in 1923 and returned to England; in 1925 he built his own solar observatory at Ewhurst. He died on the 17th of Novemeber 1956, aged 92.