Frank Watson Dyson was born at Measham, south of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. During his childhood, his family moved to Yorkshire. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and 1892 was awarded the Isaac Newton studentship for astronomical research.
In 1894 he became chief assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he worked on stellar motions. In 1906 he became Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Regis Professor of Astronomy at Edinburgh University. In 1910 he became Astronomer Royal. At Greenwich he worked on determining stellar parallaxes and therefore distance. He was involved with the International Astrographic Catalogue, an international project to measure star positions.
Image from: Wikimedia Commons.
Dyson travelled to observe six solar eclipses, and had good weather for all of them. The first was in Portugal in 1900. He photographed the spectra of the solar chromosphere and corono during an expedition to Sumatra. In 1905 he published the results from three expeditions: details of 1200 emission lines in the solar chromosphere.
Although he did not go himself, he was involved in organising the 1919 expeditions to Brazil and Principe (the latter was observed by Eddington) to measure the deflection of starlight by the Sun's gravity as predicted by Einstein.
Dyson was involved in measuring time at Greenwich. In the 1920s, John Reith, of the BBC, requested that the corporation's time signal come from Greenwich. Dyson devised the six pips still used today.
(Not a complete list)
Dyson, F. W., Astronomy - A Handy Guide for Students and Others, Den, 1910.
Dyson, F. W.; Eddington, A. S.; Davidson, C., "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 220 pp571-581, 1920.
Woolley, Sir Richard Van der Riet and Dyson, Sir Frank W., Eclipses of the Sun and Moon, 1937
The crater Dyson on the Moon and asteroid 1241 Dysona are named after him.
Eddington, A. S., "Sir Frank Watson Dyson. 1868-1939", Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, January 1, 1940, 3, 159-172.
Frank Watson Dyson (Wikipedia)
Meadows, A. J. 'Dyson, Sir Frank Watson (1868–1939)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32949, accessed 12 Aug 2013]
National Portrait Gallery: photograph.
Last updated 12th August, 2013.