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John Evershed CIE[2] FRS[1] FRAS[3] (26 February 1864 – 17 November 1956) was an English astronomer. He was the first to observe radial motions in sunspots, a phenomenon known as the Evershed effect.

John Evershed
Born(1864-02-26)26 February 1864
Died17 November 1956(1956-11-17) (aged 92)
Known for
Spouse(s)Mary Ackworth Orr Evershed
Scientific career



Evershed was born in Gomshall, Surrey to John and Sophia (née Price) Evershed.[4] He made the discovery which bears his name while at Kodaikanal Observatory in 1909. After retirement in 1923 he set up a private observatory at Ewhurst, Surrey and built a large spectroheliograph of special design and another with high-dispersion liquid prism. He continued to study the wave-lengths of H and K lines in prominences, giving values of the solar rotation at high levels in different latitudes and at different phases of the solar cycle. Work continued until 1950 when the observatory closed and he presented some of his instruments to the Royal Greenwich Observatory at Herstmonceux. He was a founder member of the British Astronomical Association. He directed its Solar Spectroscopy Section (1893-1899) and Spectroscopic Section (1924-1926).

Awards and honoursEdit

In 1894 Evershed was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, in 1918 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May, 1915.[1][5] The Evershed crater on the Moon is named in his honor. He was awarded as a Companion of the Indian Empire on his retirement in 1923.

Personal lifeEdit

Evershed was married to fellow astronomer Mary Acworth Orr Evershed, with whom he co-authored some work. He died in Ewhurst, Surrey on 17 November 1956. He also had interest in lepidoptera and other insects.[6] W. H. Evans described a butterfly and named it after Evershed(Thoressa evershedi-Evans, 1910) as the first specimen was collected by Evershed.[7] In 2015 his archive was acquired by the Science Museum, London.


  1. ^ a b c Stratton, F. J. M. (1957). "John Evershed 1864-1956". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 3: 40–51. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1957.0004. JSTOR 769351.
  2. ^ "1957MNRAS.117..254. Page 254". Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  3. ^ "1957MNRAS.117..253. Page 253". Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  4. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 1 December 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Snedegar, Keith (2014). "Evershed, John". Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer International Publishing AG. pp. 684–686. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-9917-7_431. ISBN 978-1-4419-9916-0.
  7. ^ A list of butterflies of the Palni hills. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 1886.

External linksEdit

John Evershed in libraries (WorldCat catalog)