British astrophysicist who studied the motions, equilibrium, luminosity,
and atomic structure of the stars. In 1919 his observation of stars
during a solar eclipse confirmed Albert Einstein's prediction that light
is bent when passing near the Sun, in accordance with the general theory
of relativity. In The Expanding Universe 1933 Eddington expressed the
theory that in the spherical universe the outer galaxies or spiral nebulae
are receding from one another.
Eddington discovered the fundamental role of radiation pressure in the
maintenance of stellar equilibrium, explained the method by which the
energy of a star moves from its interior to its exterior, and in 1924
showed that the luminosity of a star depends almost exclusively on its
mass - a discovery that caused a complete revision of contemporary ideas
on stellar evolution.
Eddington was born in Kendal, Cumbria, and studied at Cambridge. Working
for the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, he was sent to Malta 1909
to determine the longitude of the geodetic station there, and in 1912
he went to Brazil as the leader of an eclipse expedition. In 1913, Eddington
returned to Cambridge as professor, and was director of the university's
observatory from 1914.
Eddington became a leading exponent of Einstein's relativity theory,
and from 1930 he worked on relating the theory of relativity and quantum
Eddington's first book, Stellar Movements and the Structure of the Universe
1914, introduced the subject of stellar dynamics. The Internal Construction
of the Stars 1926 became one of the classics of astronomy.