James Bradley discovered in 1728 the annual shifting of the stars due to the aberration of light, and in 1748, the complicating effects upon precession of the "nutation" of the earth's axis.
He refrained from announcing the supplementary detection of nutation until the 14th of February 1748 (Phil.
By De la Rue's advice, Pritchard began his career there with a determination of the physical libration of the moon, or the nutation of its axis.
Amongst the most important of his works not already mentioned may be named the following: - Mathematical Tracts (1826) on the Lunar Theory, Figure of the Earth, Precession and Nutation, and Calculus of Variations, to which, in the second edition of 1828, were added tracts on the Planetary Theory and the Undulatory Theory of Light; Experiments on Iron-built Ships, instituted for the purpose of discovering a correction for the deviation of the Compass produced by the Iron of the Ships (1839); On the Theoretical Explanation of an apparent new Polarity in Light (1840); Tides and Waves (1842).
In 1749 he furnished a method of applying his principles to the motion of any body of a given figure; and in 1754 he solved the problem of the precession of the equinoxes, determined its quantity and explained the phenomenon of the nutation of the earth's axis.