Edwin Hubble

Edwin Powell Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953)[1] was an American astronomer. He played a crucial role in establishing the fields of extragalactic astronomy and observational cosmology and is regarded as one of the most important astronomers of all time.[2][3]

Hubble discovered that many objects previously thought to be clouds of dust and gas and classified as "nebulae" were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way.[4] He used the strong direct relationship between a classical Cepheid variable's luminosity and pulsation period[5][6] (discovered in 1908 by Henrietta Swan Leavitt[7]) for scaling galactic and extragalactic distances.[8][9]

Hubble provided evidence that the recessional velocity of a galaxy increases with its distance from the Earth, a property now known as "Hubble's law", despite the fact that it had been both proposed and demonstrated observationally two years earlier by Georges Lemaître.[10] Hubble-Lemaître's Law implies that the universe is expanding.[11] A decade before, the American astronomer Vesto Slipher had provided the first evidence that the light from many of these nebulae was strongly red-shifted, indicative of high recession velocities.[12][13]

Hubble's name is most widely recognized for the Hubble Space Telescope which was named in his honor, with a model prominently displayed in his hometown of Marshfield, Missouri.

Edwin Hubble
Edwin Powell Hubble

November 20, 1889
DiedSeptember 28, 1953 (aged 63)
ResidenceUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
The Queen's College, Oxford
Known forHubble sequence
Spouse(s)Grace Burke Sr.
AwardsNewcomb Cleveland Prize 1924
Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science 1935
Bruce Medal 1938
Franklin Medal 1939
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society 1940
Legion of Merit 1946
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Mount Wilson Observatory
InfluencedAllan Sandage
Edwin Hubble signature


Edwin Hubble was born to Virginia Lee Hubble (née James) (1864–1934)[14] and John Powell Hubble, an insurance executive, in Marshfield, Missouri, and moved to Wheaton, Illinois, in 1900.[15] In his younger days, he was noted more for his athletic prowess than his intellectual abilities, although he did earn good grades in every subject except for spelling. Edwin was a gifted athlete, playing baseball, football, basketball, and running track in both high school and college. He played a variety of positions on the basketball court from center to shooting guard. In fact, Hubble even led the University of Chicago's basketball team to their first conference title in 1907.[16] He won seven first places and a third place in a single high school track and field meet in 1906.

His studies at the University of Chicago were concentrated on law, which led to a bachelor of science degree in 1910. Hubble also became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He spent the three years at The Queen's College, Oxford after earning his bachelor's as one of the university's first Rhodes Scholars, initially studying jurisprudence instead of science (as a promise to his dying father),[17] and later added literature and Spanish,[17] and earning his master's degree.[18]

In 1909, Hubble's father moved his family from Chicago to Shelbyville, Kentucky, so that the family could live in a small town, ultimately settling in nearby Louisville. His father died in the winter of 1913, while Edwin was still in England, and in the summer of 1913, Edwin returned to care for his mother, two sisters, and younger brother, as did his brother William. The family moved once more to Everett Avenue, in Louisville's Highlands neighborhood, to accommodate Edwin and William.[19]

Hubble was also a dutiful son, who despite his intense interest in astronomy since boyhood, acquiesced to his father's request to study law, first at the University of Chicago and later at Oxford, though he managed to take a few math and science courses. After the death of his father in 1913, Edwin returned to the Midwest from Oxford but did not have the motivation to practice law. Instead, he proceeded to teach Spanish, physics and mathematics at New Albany High School in New Albany, Indiana, where he also coached the boys' basketball team. After a year of high-school teaching, he entered graduate school with the help of his former professor from the University of Chicago to study astronomy at the university's Yerkes Observatory, where he received his Ph.D. in 1917. His dissertation was titled "Photographic Investigations of Faint Nebulae".[20] In Yerkes, he had access to one of the most powerful telescopes in the world at the time, which had an innovative 24 inch (61 cm) reflector.[21]

Hubble identity card
Hubble's identity card in the American Expeditionary Forces.

After the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, Hubble rushed to complete his Ph.D. dissertation so he could join the military. Hubble volunteered for the United States Army and was assigned to the newly created 86th Division, where he served in 2nd Battalion, 343 Infantry Regiment. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel,[22] and was found fit for overseas duty on July 9, 1918, but the 86th Division never saw combat. After the end of World War I, Hubble spent a year in Cambridge, where he renewed his studies of astronomy.[23] In 1919, Hubble was offered a staff position at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Mount Wilson Observatory, near Pasadena, California, by George Ellery Hale, the founder and director of the observatory. Hubble remained on staff at Mount Wilson until his death in 1953. Shortly before his death, Hubble became the first astronomer to use the newly completed giant 200-inch (5.1 m) reflector Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California.

Hubble also worked as a civilian for U.S. Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland during World War II as the Chief of the External Ballistics Branch of the Ballistics Research Laboratory during which he directed a large volume of research in exterior ballistics which increased the effective firepower of bombs and projectiles. His work was facilitated by his personal development of several items of equipment for the instrumentation used in exterior ballistics, the most outstanding development being the high-speed clock camera, which made possible the study of the characteristics of bombs and low-velocity projectiles in flight. The results of his studies were credited with greatly improving design, performance, and military effectiveness of bombs and rockets. For his work there, he received the Legion of Merit award.[24]

Hubble was raised as a Christian but some of his later statements suggest uncertainty.[25][26]

Hubble married Mrs. Grace Lillian (Burke) Leib (1889–1980), daughter of John Patrick and Luella (Kepford) Burke, on February 26, 1924.

Hubble had a heart attack in July 1949 while on vacation in Colorado. He was taken care of by his wife and continued on a modified diet and work schedule. He died of cerebral thrombosis (a spontaneous blood clot in his brain) on September 28, 1953, in San Marino, California. No funeral was held for him, and his wife never revealed his burial site.[27][28][29]


Universe goes beyond the Milky Way galaxy

The 100-inch Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory that Hubble used to measure galaxy distances and a value for the rate of expansion of the universe.

Edwin Hubble's arrival at Mount Wilson Observatory, California in 1919 coincided roughly with the completion of the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker Telescope, then the world's largest. At that time, the prevailing view of the cosmos was that the universe consisted entirely of the Milky Way Galaxy. Using the Hooker Telescope at Mt. Wilson, Hubble identified Cepheid variables (a kind of star that is used as a means to determine the distance from the galaxy[30][31] – see also standard candle) in several spiral nebulae, including the Andromeda Nebula and Triangulum. His observations, made in 1924, proved conclusively that these nebulae were much too distant to be part of the Milky Way and were, in fact, entire galaxies outside our own, suspected by researchers at least as early as 1755 when Immanuel Kant's General History of Nature and Theory of the Heavens appeared. This idea had been opposed by many in the astronomy establishment of the time, in particular by Harvard University-based Harlow Shapley. Despite the opposition, Hubble, then a thirty-five-year-old scientist, had his findings first published in The New York Times on November 23, 1924,[32] then presented them to other astronomers at the January 1, 1925 meeting of the American Astronomical Society.[33] Hubble's results for Andromeda were not formally published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal until 1929.[34]

Hubble's findings fundamentally changed the scientific view of the universe. Supporters state that Hubble's discovery of nebulae outside of our galaxy helped pave the way for future astronomers.[35] Although some of his more renowned colleagues simply scoffed at his results, Hubble ended up publishing his findings on nebulae. This published work earned him an award titled the American Association Prize and five hundred dollars from Burton E. Livingston of the Committee on Awards.[16]

Hubble also devised the most commonly used system for classifying galaxies, grouping them according to their appearance in photographic images. He arranged the different groups of galaxies in what became known as the Hubble sequence.[36]

Redshift increases with distance

Hubble went on to estimate the distances to 24 extra-galactic nebulae, using a variety of methods. In 1929 Hubble examined the relation between these distances and their radial velocities as determined from their redshifts. His estimated distances are now known to all be too small, by up to a factor of about 7. This was due to factors such as the fact that there are two kinds of Cepheid variables or confusing bright gas clouds with bright stars.[37] However, his distances were more or less proportional to the true distances, and combining his distances with measurements of the redshifts of the galaxies by Vesto Slipher, and by his assistant Milton L. Humason, he found a roughly linear relationship between the distances of the galaxies and their radial velocities (corrected for solar motion),[38] a discovery that later became known as Hubble's law.

This meant, the greater the distance between any two galaxies, the greater their relative speed of separation. If interpreted that way, Hubble's measurements on 46 galaxies lead to a value for the Hubble Constant of 500 km/s/Mpc, which is much higher than the currently accepted values of 74 km/s/Mpc[39][40] (cosmic distance ladder method) or 68 km/s/Mpc[41][42] (CMB method) due to errors in their distance calibrations.

Yet the reason for the redshift remained unclear. Georges Lemaître, a Belgian Catholic priest and physicist, predicted on theoretical grounds based on Einstein's equations for general relativity the redshift-distance relation, and published observational support for it, two years before the discovery of Hubble's law.[43] However, many cosmologists and astronomers (including Hubble himself) failed to recognize the work of Lemaître; Hubble remained doubtful about Lemaître's interpretation for his entire life. Although he used the term "velocities" in his paper (and "apparent radial velocities" in the introduction), he later expressed doubt about interpreting these as real velocities. In 1931 he wrote a letter to the Dutch cosmologist Willem de Sitter expressing his opinion on the theoretical interpretation of the redshift-distance relation:[37]

"Mr. Humason and I are both deeply sensible of your gracious appreciation of the papers on velocities and distances of nebulae. We use the term 'apparent' velocities to emphasize the empirical features of the correlation. The interpretation, we feel, should be left to you and the very few others who are competent to discuss the matter with authority."

Today, the "apparent velocities" in question are usually thought of as an increase in proper distance that occurs due to the expansion of the universe. Light travelling through an expanding metric will experience a Hubble-type redshift, a mechanism somewhat different from the Doppler effect (although the two mechanisms become equivalent descriptions related by a coordinate transformation for nearby galaxies).

In the 1930s, Hubble was involved in determining the distribution of galaxies and spatial curvature. These data seemed to indicate that the universe was flat and homogeneous, but there was a deviation from flatness at large redshifts. According to Allan Sandage,

"Hubble believed that his count data gave a more reasonable result concerning spatial curvature if the redshift correction was made assuming no recession. To the very end of his writings, he maintained this position, favouring (or at the very least keeping open) the model where no true expansion exists, and therefore that the redshift "represents a hitherto unrecognized principle of nature."[44]

There were methodological problems with Hubble's survey technique that showed a deviation from flatness at large redshifts. In particular, the technique did not account for changes in luminosity of galaxies due to galaxy evolution. Earlier, in 1917, Albert Einstein had found that his newly developed theory of general relativity indicated that the universe must be either expanding or contracting. Unable to believe what his own equations were telling him, Einstein introduced a cosmological constant (a "fudge factor") to the equations to avoid this "problem". When Einstein learned of Hubble's redshifts, he immediately realized that the expansion predicted by general relativity must be real, and in later life, he said that changing his equations was "the biggest blunder of [his] life." In fact, Einstein apparently once visited Hubble and tried to convince him that the universe was expanding.[45]

Hubble also discovered the asteroid 1373 Cincinnati on August 30, 1935. In 1936 he wrote The Observational Approach to Cosmology and The Realm of the Nebulae which explained his approaches to extra-galactic astronomy and his view of the subject's history.

In December 1941, Hubble reported to the American Association for the Advancement of Science that results from a six-year survey with the Mt. Wilson telescope did not support the expanding universe theory. According to an LA Times article reporting on Hubble's remarks, "The nebulae could not be uniformly distributed, as the telescope shows they are, and still fit the explosion idea. Explanations which try to get around what the great telescope sees, he said, fail to stand up. The explosion, for example, would have had to start long after the earth was created, and possibly even after the first life appeared here."[46][47] (Hubble's estimate of what we now call the Hubble constant would put the Big Bang only 2 billion years ago.)

Accusations concerning Lemaître's priority

In 2011 the journal Nature reported claims that Hubble had played a role in the redaction of key parts of the translation of Lemaître's 1927 paper, which stated what is now called Hubble's Law and also gave observational evidence for it. Historians quoted in the article were sceptical that the redactions were part of a campaign to ensure Hubble retained priority. However, the observational astronomer Sidney van den Bergh published a paper[48] suggesting that while the omissions may have been made by a translator, they may still have been deliberate.

In November 2011, the astronomer Mario Livio reported in Nature that documents in the Lemaître archive demonstrated that the redaction had indeed been carried out by Lemaître himself, who apparently saw little point in including scientific content which had already been reported by Hubble.[43]

No Nobel Prize

At the time, the Nobel Prize in Physics did not recognize work done in astronomy. Hubble spent much of the later part of his career attempting to have astronomy considered an area of physics, instead of being its own science. He did this largely so that astronomers—including himself—could be recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee for their valuable contributions to astrophysics. This campaign was unsuccessful in Hubble's lifetime, but shortly after his death, the Nobel Prize Committee decided that astronomical work would be eligible for the physics prize.[16] However, the prize is not one that can be awarded posthumously.


On March 6, 2008, the United States Postal Service released a 41-cent stamp honoring Hubble on a sheet titled "American Scientists" designed by artist Victor Stabin.[28] His citation reads:[49]

Often called a "pioneer of the distant stars," astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889–1953) played a pivotal role in deciphering the vast and complex nature of the universe. His meticulous studies of spiral nebulae proved the existence of galaxies other than our own Milky Way. Had he not died suddenly in 1953, Hubble would have won that year's Nobel Prize in Physics.

(Note that the assertion that he would have won the Nobel Prize in 1953 is likely false, although he was nominated for the prize that year.[50])

The other scientists on the "American Scientists" sheet include Gerty Cori, biochemist; Linus Pauling, chemist, and John Bardeen, physicist.




Other notable appearances

In popular culture

The play Creation's Birthday, written by Cornell physicist Hasan Padamsee, tells Hubble's life story.[62]

A famous quote by Edwin Hubble goes: "Equipped with his five senses man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science".[63]

In the popular documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by astronomer Carl Sagan, Hubble's life and work are portrayed on screen in episode 10: The Edge of Forever.

His work on Red Shift was immortalized in a limerick by Alexander Rolfe:

Thanks to Edwin P. Hubble

Our static cosmology was in serious trouble--

When we saw a wavelength

Of such tiny strength,

It proved the universe was an expanding bubble.

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Biography of Edwin Hubble (1889–1953)". NASA. Archived from the original on June 30, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  2. ^ Redd, Nola Taylor. "Famous Astronomers | List of Great Scientists in Astronomy". SPACE.com. Perch. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Reese, Riley. "Most Influential Astronomers of All Time". Futurism. Jerrick Ventures LLC. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  4. ^ Hubble, Edwin (December 1926). "Extragalactic nebulae". Astrophysical Journal. 64 (64): 321–369. Bibcode:1926ApJ....64..321H. doi:10.1086/143018.
  5. ^ Udalski, A.; Soszynski, I.; Szymanski, M.; Kubiak, M.; Pietrzynski, G.; Wozniak, P.; Zebrun, K. (1999). "The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment. Cepheids in the Magellanic Clouds. IV. Catalog of Cepheids from the Large Magellanic Cloud". Acta Astronomica. 49: 223–317. arXiv:astro-ph/9908317. Bibcode:1999AcA....49..223U.
  6. ^ Soszynski, I.; Poleski, R.; Udalski, A.; Szymanski, M. K.; Kubiak, M.; Pietrzynski, G.; Wyrzykowski, L.; Szewczyk, O.; Ulaczyk, K. (2008). "The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment. The OGLE-III Catalog of Variable Stars. I. Classical Cepheids in the Large Magellanic Cloud". Acta Astronomica. 58: 163. arXiv:0808.2210. Bibcode:2008AcA....58..163S.
  7. ^ Leavitt, Henrietta S. (1908). "1777 variables in the Magellanic Clouds". Annals of Harvard College Observatory. 60: 87. Bibcode:1908AnHar..60...87L.
  8. ^ Freedman, Wendy L.; Madore, Barry F.; Gibson, Brad K.; Ferrarese, Laura; Kelson, Daniel D.; Sakai, Shoko; Mould, Jeremy R.; Kennicutt, Jr., Robert C.; Ford, Holland C.; Graham, John A.; Huchra, John P.; Hughes, Shaun M. G.; Illingworth, Garth D.; Macri, Lucas M.; Stetson, Peter B. (2001). "Final Results from the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project to Measure the Hubble Constant". The Astrophysical Journal. 553 (1): 47–72. arXiv:astro-ph/0012376. Bibcode:2001ApJ...553...47F. doi:10.1086/320638.
  9. ^ Freedman, Wendy L.; Madore, Barry F. (2010). "The Hubble Constant". Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 48: 673–710. arXiv:1004.1856. Bibcode:2010ARA&A..48..673F. doi:10.1146/annurev-astro-082708-101829.
  10. ^ Astronomer Sleuth Solves Mystery of Big Cosmos Discovery by Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com, November 14, 2011
  11. ^ Hubble, Edwin (1929). "A relation between distance and radial velocity among extra-galactic nebulae". PNAS. 15 (3): 168–173. Bibcode:1929PNAS...15..168H. doi:10.1073/pnas.15.3.168. PMC 522427. PMID 16577160.
  12. ^ Slipher, V.M. (1917). "Proc. Am. Philos. Soc". 56: 404–409.
  13. ^ Segal, I.E. (December 1993). "Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA". 90: 11114–11116.
  14. ^ "Virginia Lee Hubble (James) (c.1864 – 1934)". Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  15. ^ Gale E. Christianson (1996). Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the nebulae. University of Chicago Press. pp. 13–18. ISBN 9780226105215.
  16. ^ a b c Gale E. Christianson (1996). Edwin Hubble: mariner of the nebulae. University of Chicago Press. p. 362. Grace heard that Enrico Fermi and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, both members of the Nobel Committee, had joined their colleagues in unanimously voting Hubble the prize in physics, a rumor later confirmed by the astronomers Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge after speaking with "Chandra.
  17. ^ a b Michael D. Lemonick (March 29, 1999). "Astronomer Edwin Hubble". The Times. UK. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
  18. ^ The Rhodes Trust. "Rhodes Scholars: Complete List, 1903–2010". The Rhodes Trust. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2011. Hubble, Edwin – The Queen's College, Illinois (1910)
  19. ^ John F. Kielkopf. "Edwin Hubble, Family, and Friends in Louisville 1909–1916".
  20. ^ Hubble, Edwin Powell (1920). Photographic investigations of faint nebulae. Chicago, Ill., The University of Chicago Press. Retrieved September 15, 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  21. ^ "Edwin Hubble | American astronomer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  22. ^ "Major Edwin Hubble is Made Lieutenant Colonel". Springfield Missouri Republican. August 11, 1918. p. 6. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  23. ^ Gale E. Christianson (1996). Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae. University of Chicago Press. p. 183. ISBN 9780226105215.
  24. ^ Sharov, Alexander S., Igor D. Novikov "Edwin Hubble, The Discoverer of the Big Bang Universe". Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press (1989) p. 101
  25. ^ Gale E. Christianson (1996). Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae. University of Chicago Press. p. 183. ISBN 9780226105215. One morning, while driving north with Grace after the failed eclipse expedition of 1923, he broached Whitehead's idea of a God who might have chosen from a great many possibilities to make a different universe, but He made this one. By contemplating the universe, one might approximate some idea of its Creator. As time passed, however, he seemed even less certain: "We do not know why we are born into the world, but we can try to find out what sort of a world it is — at least in its physical aspects." His life was dedicated to science and the objective world of phenomena. The world of pure values is one which science cannot enter, and science is unconcerned with the transcendent, however, compelling a private revelation or individual moment of ecstasy. He pulled no punches when a deeply depressed friend asked him about his belief: "The whole thing is so much bigger than I am, and I can't understand it, so I just trust myself to it, and forget about it."
  26. ^ Tom Bezzi (2000). Hubble Time. iUniverse. p. 93. ISBN 9780595142477. John terribly depressed, and asked Edwin about his belief. Edwin said, "The whole thing is so much bigger than I am, and I can't understand it, so I just trust myself to it, and forget about it." It was not his nature to speculate. Theories, in his opinion, were an appropriate cocktail conversation. He was essentially an observer, and as he said in The Realm of the Nebulae: "Not until the empirical resources are exhausted, need we pass on to the dreamy realms of speculation." Edwin never exhausted those empirical resources. "I am an observer, not a theoretical man," he attested, and a lightly spoken word in a lecture or in a letter showed that observation was his choice.
  27. ^ Bill Bryson (2010). Short History of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 9780307885166.
  28. ^ a b Paul Kupperberg (2005). Hubble and the Big Bang. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 45–6. ISBN 9781404203075.
  29. ^ J. L. Heilbron (2005). The Oxford guide to the history of physics and astronomy, Volume 10. Oxford University Press US. pp. 156–7. ISBN 9780195171983.
  30. ^ A Science Odyssey:People and Discoveries
  31. ^ 1929:Edwin Hubble Discovers the universe is expanding
  32. ^ Sharov, Aleksandr Sergeevich; Novikov, Igor Dmitrievich (1993). Edwin Hubble, the discoverer of the big bang universe. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-521-41617-7. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
  33. ^ Marcia Bartusiak (2010). The Day We Found the Universe. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. x–xi. ISBN 9780307276605.
  34. ^ Hubble, E. P. (1929). "A spiral nebula as a stellar system, Messier 31". The Astrophysical Journal. 69: 103. Bibcode:1929ApJ....69..103H. doi:10.1086/143167.
  35. ^ "life in the universe Astronomy Encyclopedia. London: Philip's, 2002. Credo Reference".
  36. ^ David L. Block; Ivacircnio Puerari; Alan Stockton (2000). Toward a new millennium in galaxy morphology. Springer. pp. 146–150. ISBN 9780792361855.
  37. ^ a b Robert P. Kirshner (January 6, 2004). "Hubble's diagram and cosmic expansion". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 101 (1): 8–13. doi:10.1073/pnas.2536799100. PMC 314128. PMID 14695886. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  38. ^ Cite error: The named reference Hubble's Law was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  39. ^ Riess, Adam G.; Casertano, Stefano; Yuan, Wenlong; Macri, Lucas; Bucciarelli, Beatrice; Lattanzi, Mario G.; MacKenty, John W.; Bowers, J. Bradley; Zheng, WeiKang; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Huang, Caroline; Anderson, Richard I. (2018). "Milky Way Cepheid Standards for Measuring Cosmic Distances and Application to Gaia DR2: Implications for the Hubble Constant". The Astrophysical Journal. 861 (2): 126. arXiv:1804.10655. Bibcode:2018ApJ...861..126R. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aac82e. ISSN 0004-637X.
  40. ^ Devlin, Hannah (10 May 2018). "The answer to life, the universe and everything might be 73. Or 67". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  41. ^ Planck Collaboration; Aghanim, N.; Akrami, Y.; Ashdown, M.; Aumont, J.; Baccigalupi, C.; Ballardini, M.; Banday, A. J.; Barreiro, R. B.; Bartolo, N.; Basak, S.; Battye, R.; Benabed, K.; Bernard, J. -P.; Bersanelli, M.; Bielewicz, P.; Bock, J. J.; Bond, J. R.; Borrill, J.; Bouchet, F. R.; Boulanger, F.; Bucher, M.; Burigana, C.; Butler, R. C.; Calabrese, E.; Cardoso, J. -F.; Carron, J.; Challinor, A.; Chiang, H. C.; et al. (2018). "Planck 2018 results. VI. Cosmological parameters". www.cosmos.esa.int. arXiv:1807.06209. Bibcode:2018arXiv180706209P. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  42. ^ https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.07603
  43. ^ a b Lost in translation: Mystery of the missing text solved Mario Livio Nature 479, 171–173 (10 November 2011)
  44. ^ Sandage, Allan (1989), "Edwin Hubble 1889–1953", The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 83, No.6. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  45. ^ Public Broadcasting Station (PBS). "Cosmological Constant". PBS.org. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
  46. ^ "Savant Refutes Theory of Exploding Universe – Mt. Wilson Astronomer Reports Results of Long Searching With 100-Inch Telescope". The Los Angeles Times: 10. December 31, 1941.
  47. ^ Larry Harnisch (December 31, 2011). "Hubble: No Evidence of 'Big Bang' Theory". LA Daily Mirror (WP:NEWSBLOG). (Shows legible photo of the article.)
  48. ^ Bergh, Sidney van den (June 6, 2011). "The Curious Case of Lemaitre's Equation No. 24". arXiv:1106.1195 [physics.hist-ph].
  49. ^ "Hubble of the Century Sees Galaxies". Socialbilitty. April 19, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  50. ^ Tsumura, Kohji (May 29, 2017). "Verification of the anecdote about Edwin Hubble and the Nobel Prize". arXiv:1705.10125 [physics.hist-ph].
  51. ^ "Newcomb Cleveland Prize Recipients". AAAS. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  52. ^ "Past Recipients of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
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  61. ^ "Edwin Hubble". Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  62. ^ "On stage: Hubble's contentious life and science". Symmetry. November 1, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
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Further reading

External links

2069 Hubble

2069 Hubble, provisional designation 1955 FT, is a carbonaceous asteroid from the outer region of the asteroid belt, approximately 40 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 29 March 1955, by the Indiana Asteroid Program at Goethe Link Observatory, United States, and named after American astronomer Edwin Hubble.

Barred spiral galaxy

A barred spiral galaxy is a spiral galaxy with a central bar-shaped structure composed of stars. Bars are found in between one third and two thirds of all spiral galaxies. Bars generally affect both the motions of stars and interstellar gas within spiral galaxies and can affect spiral arms as well. The Milky Way Galaxy, where our own Solar System is located, is classified as a barred spiral galaxy.Edwin Hubble classified spiral galaxies of this type as "SB" (spiral, barred) in his Hubble sequence and arranged them into sub-categories based on how open the arms of the spiral are. SBa types feature tightly bound arms, while SBc types are at the other extreme and have loosely bound arms. SBb-type galaxies lie in between the two. SB0 is a barred lenticular galaxy. A new type, SBm, was subsequently created to describe somewhat irregular barred spirals, such as the Magellanic Clouds, which were once classified as irregular galaxies, but have since been found to contain barred spiral structures. Among other types in Hubble's classifications for the galaxies are the spiral galaxy, elliptical galaxy and irregular galaxy.

Edwin Hubble House

The Edwin Hubble House is a historic house at 1340 Woodstock Road, in San Marino, California. Built in 1925, it was the home of astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) for most of his professional life. Hubble is renowned as one of the greatest astronomers of the 20th century, whose discoveries revolutionized the science. His home, still a private residence, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Elliptical galaxy

An elliptical galaxy is a type of galaxy with an approximately ellipsoidal shape and a smooth, nearly featureless image. They are one of the three main classes of galaxy described by Edwin Hubble in his Hubble sequence and 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae, along with spiral and lenticular galaxies.

Elliptical (E) galaxies are, together with lenticular galaxies (S0) with their large-scale disks, and ES galaxies with their intermediate scale disks, a subset of the "early-type" galaxy population.

Most elliptical galaxies are composed of older, low-mass stars, with a sparse interstellar medium and minimal star formation activity, and they tend to be surrounded by large numbers of globular clusters. Elliptical galaxies are believed to make up approximately 10%–15% of galaxies in the Virgo Supercluster, and they are not the dominant type of galaxy in the universe overall. They are preferentially found close to the centers of galaxy clusters.Elliptical galaxies range in size from tens of millions to over one hundred trillion stars. Originally, Edwin Hubble hypothesized that elliptical galaxies evolved into spiral galaxies, which was later discovered to be false, although the accretion of gas and smaller galaxies may build a disk around a pre-existing ellipsoidal structure.

Stars found inside of elliptical galaxies are on average much older than stars found in spiral galaxies.

Extragalactic astronomy

Extragalactic astronomy is the branch of astronomy concerned with objects outside the Milky Way galaxy. In other words, it is the study of all astronomical objects which are not covered by galactic astronomy.

As instrumentation has improved, distant objects can now be examined in more detail. It is therefore useful to sub-divide this branch into Near-Extragalactic Astronomy and Far-Extragalactic Astronomy. The former deals with objects such as the galaxies of the Local Group, which are close enough to allow very detailed analyses of their contents (e.g. supernova remnants, stellar associations).

Some topics include:

Galaxy groups

Galaxy clusters, Superclusters

Galaxy filaments

Active galactic nuclei, Quasars

Radio galaxies


Intergalactic stars

Intergalactic dust

the observable universe

Galaxy morphological classification

Galaxy morphological classification is a system used by astronomers to divide galaxies into groups based on their visual appearance. There are several schemes in use by which galaxies can be classified according to their morphologies, the most famous being the Hubble sequence, devised by Edwin Hubble and later expanded by Gérard de Vaucouleurs and Allan Sandage.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt

Henrietta Swan Leavitt (; July 4, 1868 – December 12, 1921) was an American astronomer. A graduate of Radcliffe College, she worked at the Harvard College Observatory as a "computer", tasked with examining photographic plates in order to measure and catalog the brightness of stars. This work led her to discover the relation between the luminosity and the period of Cepheid variables. Though she received little recognition in her lifetime, Leavitt's discovery provided astronomers with the first "standard candle" with which to measure the distance to faraway galaxies. After her death, Edwin Hubble used Leavitt's luminosity–period relation, together with the galactic spectral shifts first measured by Vesto Slipher at Lowell Observatory, in order to establish that the universe is expanding (see Hubble's law).

Hubble's law

Hubble's law, also known as the Hubble–Lemaître law, is the observation in physical cosmology that:

Hubble's law is considered the first observational basis for the expansion of the universe and today serves as one of the pieces of evidence most often cited in support of the Big Bang model. The motion of astronomical objects due solely to this expansion is known as the Hubble flow.

Although widely attributed to Edwin Hubble, the law was first derived from the general relativity equations in 1922 by Alexander Friedmann. Friedmann published a set of equations, now known as the Friedmann equations, showing that the universe might expand, and presenting the expansion speed if this was the case. Then Georges Lemaître, in a 1927 article, proposed the expansion of the universe and suggested an estimated value of the rate of expansion, which when corrected by Hubble became known as the Hubble constant. Though the Hubble constant is roughly constant in the velocity-distance space at any given moment in time, the Hubble parameter , which the Hubble constant is the current value of, varies with time, so the term 'constant' is sometimes thought of as somewhat of a misnomer. Moreover, two years later Edwin Hubble confirmed the existence of cosmic expansion, and determined a more accurate value for the constant that now bears his name. Hubble inferred the recession velocity of the objects from their redshifts, many of which were earlier measured and related to velocity by Vesto Slipher in 1917. In October 2018, scientists presented a new third way (two earlier methods gave problematic results that do not agree), using information from gravitational wave events (especially those involving the merger of neutron stars, like GW170817), of determining the Hubble Constant, essential in establishing the exact rate of expansion of the universe.

The law is often expressed by the equation v = H0D, with H0 the constant of proportionality—Hubble constant—between the "proper distance" D to a galaxy, which can change over time, unlike the comoving distance, and its velocity v, i.e. the derivative of proper distance with respect to cosmological time coordinate. (See uses of the proper distance for some discussion of the subtleties of this definition of 'velocity'.) Also, the SI unit of H0 is s−1, but it is most frequently quoted in (km/s)/Mpc, thus giving the speed in km/s of a galaxy 1 megaparsec (3.09×1019 km) away. The reciprocal of H0 is the Hubble time.

Hubble bubble (astronomy)

In astronomy, a Hubble bubble would be "a departure of the local value of the Hubble constant from its globally averaged value," or, more technically, "a local monopole in the peculiar velocity field, perhaps caused by a local void in the mass density."The Hubble constant, named for astronomer Edwin Hubble, whose work made clear the expansion of the universe, measures the rate at which expansion occurs. In accordance with the Copernican principle that the Earth is not in a central, specially favored position, one would expect that measuring this constant at any point in the universe would yield the same value. If, on the other hand, Earth were at or near the center of a very low-density region of interstellar space (a relative void), denser material in a shell around it would strongly attract material away from the centerpoint. Thus, stars inside such a "Hubble bubble" would accelerate away from Earth much faster than the general expansion of the universe. This situation would provide an alternative to dark energy in explaining the apparent accelerating universe.

Hubble sequence

The Hubble sequence is a morphological classification scheme for galaxies invented by Edwin Hubble in 1926. It is often known colloquially as the Hubble tuning fork diagram because of the shape in which it is traditionally represented.

Hubble’s scheme divides regular galaxies into three broad classes – ellipticals, lenticulars and spirals – based on their visual appearance (originally on photographic plates). A fourth class contains galaxies with an irregular appearance. The Hubble sequence is the most commonly used system for classifying galaxies, both in professional astronomical research and in amateur astronomy.

Hubble–Reynolds law

The Hubble–Reynolds law models the surface brightness of elliptical galaxies as

Where is the surface brightness at radius , is the central brightness, and is the radius at which the surface brightness is diminished by a factor of 1/4. It is asymptotically similar to the De Vaucouleurs' law which is a special case of the Sersic profile for elliptical galaxies.

The law is named for the astronomers Edwin Hubble and John Henry Reynolds.

IC 342

IC 342 (also known as Caldwell 5) is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Camelopardalis, located relatively close to the Milky Way. Despite its size and actual brightness, its location in dusty areas near the galactic equator makes it difficult to observe, leading to the nickname "The Hidden Galaxy", though it can readily be detected even with binoculars. The dust makes it difficult to determine its precise distance; modern estimates range from about 7 Mly to about 11 Mly.The galaxy was discovered by William Frederick Denning in 1892. It is one of the brightest in the IC 342/Maffei Group, one of the closest galaxy groups to the Local Group. Edwin Hubble first thought it to be in the Local Group, but it was later determined not to be a member.In 1935, Harlow Shapley found that it was wider than the full moon, and by angular size the third-largest spiral galaxy then known, smaller only than the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33). (Modern estimates are more conservative, giving the apparent size as one-half to two-thirds the diameter of the full moon).It has an H II nucleus.

Lenticular galaxy

A lenticular galaxy (denoted S0) is a type of galaxy intermediate between an elliptical (denoted E) and a spiral galaxy in galaxy morphological classification schemes. They contain large-scale discs but they do not have large-scale spiral arms. Lenticular galaxies are disc galaxies that have used up or lost most of their interstellar matter and therefore have very little ongoing star formation. They may, however, retain significant dust in their disks. As a result, they consist mainly of aging stars (like elliptical galaxies). Despite the morphological differences, lenticular and elliptical galaxies share common properties like spectral features and scaling relations. Both can be considered early-type galaxies that are passively evolving, at least in the local part of the Universe. Connecting the E galaxies with the S0 galaxies are the ES galaxies with intermediate-scale discs.

Mount Wilson Observatory

The Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) is an astronomical observatory in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The MWO is located on Mount Wilson, a 1,740-metre (5,710-foot) peak in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, northeast of Los Angeles.

The observatory contains two historically important telescopes: the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker telescope, which was the largest aperture telescope in the world from its completion in 1917 to 1949, and the 60-inch telescope which was the largest operational telescope in the world when it was completed in 1908. It also contains the Snow solar telescope completed in 1905, the 60 foot (18 m) solar tower completed in 1908, the 150 foot (46 m) solar tower completed in 1912, and the CHARA array, built by Georgia State University, which became fully operational in 2004 and was the largest optical interferometer in the world at its completion.

Due to the inversion layer that traps smog over Los Angeles, Mount Wilson has more natural steady air than any other location in North America, making it ideal for astronomy and in particular for interferometry. The increasing light pollution due to the growth of greater Los Angeles has limited the ability of the observatory to engage in deep space astronomy, but it remains a productive center, with the CHARA Array continuing important stellar research.

The observatory was conceived and founded by George Ellery Hale, who had previously built the 1 meter telescope at the Yerkes Observatory, then the world's largest telescope. The Mount Wilson Solar Observatory was first funded by the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1904, leasing the land from the owners of the Mount Wilson Hotel in 1904. Among the conditions of the lease was that it allow public access.


A nebula (Latin for "cloud" or "fog"; pl. nebulae, nebulæ, or nebulas) is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Originally, the term was used to describe any diffuse astronomical object, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy, for instance, was once referred to as the Andromeda Nebula (and spiral galaxies in general as "spiral nebulae") before the true nature of galaxies was confirmed in the early 20th century by Vesto Slipher, Edwin Hubble and others.

Most nebulae are of vast size; some are hundreds of light years in diameter. A nebula that is barely visible to the human eye from Earth would appear larger, but no brighter, from close by. The Orion Nebula, the brightest nebula in the sky and occupying an area twice the diameter of the full Moon, can be viewed with the naked eye but was missed by early astronomers. Although denser than the space surrounding them, most nebulae are far less dense than any vacuum created on Earth – a nebular cloud the size of the Earth would have a total mass of only a few kilograms. Many nebulae are visible due to fluorescence caused by embedded hot stars, while others are so diffuse they can only be detected with long exposures and special filters. Some nebulae are variably illuminated by T Tauri variable stars.

Nebulae are often star-forming regions, such as in the "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula. In these regions the formations of gas, dust, and other materials "clump" together to form denser regions, which attract further matter, and eventually will become dense enough to form stars. The remaining material is then believed to form planets and other planetary system objects.

Reflection nebula

In astronomy, reflection nebulae are clouds of interstellar dust which might reflect the light of a nearby star or stars. The energy from the nearby stars is insufficient to ionize the gas of the nebula to create an emission nebula, but is enough to give sufficient scattering to make the dust visible. Thus, the frequency spectrum shown by reflection nebulae is similar to that of the illuminating stars. Among the microscopic particles responsible for the scattering are carbon compounds (e. g. diamond dust) and compounds of other elements such as iron and nickel. The latter two are often aligned with the galactic magnetic field and cause the scattered light to be slightly polarized.

Spiral galaxy

Spiral galaxies form a class of galaxy originally described by Edwin Hubble in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae and, as such, form part of the Hubble sequence. Most spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas and dust, and a central concentration of stars known as the bulge. These are often surrounded by a much fainter halo of stars, many of which reside in globular clusters.

Spiral galaxies are named by their spiral structures that extend from the center into the galactic disc. The spiral arms are sites of ongoing star formation and are brighter than the surrounding disc because of the young, hot OB stars that inhabit them.

Roughly two-thirds of all spirals are observed to have an additional component in the form of a bar-like structure, extending from the central bulge, at the ends of which the spiral arms begin. The proportion of barred spirals relative to their barless cousins has likely changed over the history of the Universe, with only about 10% containing bars about 8 billion years ago, to roughly a quarter 2.5 billion years ago, until present, where over two-thirds of the galaxies in the visible universe (Hubble volume) have bars.Our own Milky Way is a barred spiral, although the bar itself is difficult to observe from the Earth's current position within the galactic disc. The most convincing evidence for the stars forming a bar in the galactic center comes from several recent surveys, including the Spitzer Space Telescope.Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60% of galaxies in today's universe. They are mostly found in low-density regions and are rare in the centers of galaxy clusters.

Static universe

A static universe, also referred to as a "stationary" or "infinite" or "static infinite" universe, is a cosmological model in which the universe is both spatially infinite and temporally infinite, and space is neither expanding nor contracting. Such a universe does not have so-called spatial curvature; that is to say that it is 'flat' or Euclidean. A static infinite universe was first proposed by Thomas Digges (1546 .. 1595) .In contrast to this model, Albert Einstein proposed a temporally infinite but spatially finite model as his preferred cosmology during 1917, in his paper Cosmological Considerations in the General Theory of Relativity.

After the discovery of the redshift–distance relationship (deduced by the inverse correlation of galactic brightness to redshift) by Vesto Slipher and Edwin Hubble, the astrophysicist and Roman Catholic priest Georges Lemaître interpreted the redshift as proof of universal expansion and thus a Big Bang, whereas Fritz Zwicky proposed that the redshift was caused by the photons losing energy as they passed through the matter and/or forces in intergalactic space. Zwicky's proposal would come to be termed 'tired light'- a term invented by the major Big Bang proponent Richard Tolman.

Ursa Major I Dwarf

Ursa Major I Dwarf (UMa I dSph) is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy orbiting the Milky Way galaxy. Its discovery was revealed by Beth Willman et al. in 2005.Being a small dwarf galaxy, it measures only a few thousand light-years in diameter. As of 2006, it is the third least luminous galaxy known (discounting possible dark galaxies such as VIRGOHI21 in the Virgo cluster of galaxies), after the Boötes Dwarf (absolute magnitude −5.7) and the more recently discovered Ursa Major II Dwarf (absolute magnitude −3.8). The absolute magnitude of the galaxy is estimated to be only −6.75, meaning that it is less luminous than some stars, like Deneb in the Milky Way. It is comparable in luminosity to Rigel. It has been described as similar to the Sextans Dwarf Galaxy. Both galaxies are ancient and metal-deficient.

It estimated to be located at a distance of about 330,000 light-years (100 kpc) from the Earth. That is about twice the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud; the largest and most luminous satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

There was another object called "Ursa Major Dwarf", discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1949. It was designated as Palomar 4. Due to its peculiar look, it was temporarily suspected to be either a dwarf spheroidal or elliptical galaxy. However, it has since been found to be a very distant (about 360,000 ly) globular cluster belonging to our galaxy.

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