"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him

and calls the adventure Science."

Happy birthday Edwin Hubble!

Edwin-Hubble

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Edwin Hubble (November 20, 1889—September 28, 1953) was an American astronomer. He made some of the most important contributions to astronomy to date including his discovery of galaxies beyond the Milky Way and his finding that the velocities of galaxies receding from the Earth increase with distance from the Earth, implying that the universe is expanding.

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Hubble was born in Marshfield, Missouri to Virginia Lee James and John Powell Hubble. During his youth, Hubble was a gifted athlete, even going on to play basketball for the University of Chicago. During his time in college, he studied mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. He also promised his dying father that he would study law, which he did, at both the University of Chicago and later at Oxford. However, he later returned to the University of Chicago to study astronomy at the Yerkes Observatory. He received his PhD in 1917, doing his dissertation on Photographic Investigations of Faint Nebulae.

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After serving in the United States Army during World War I, he returned to astronomy with a job at the Carnegie Institution's Mount Wilson Observatory in California. He remained there until his death.

Hubble's first major discovery was that the universe consists of more than just the Milky Way galaxy. He discovered this when he found the Cepheid variables, including the

Andromeda Nebula

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and Triangulum, which were too far off to be part of the Milky Way.

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HSedwinpNot long after, Hubble developed and established the Redshift Distance Law of galaxies, now known as Hubble's Law. The law says that the greater the distance between any two galaxies, the greater their relative speed of separation. This law was later used to support a model of expanding space based on Einstein's equations for General Relativity, though Hubble himself never believed it. (Image source)

In 1935, Hubble discovered the asteroid 1373 Cincinnati.

Hubble became increasingly interested in getting astronomy to be considered by the Nobel Prize committee as a part of physics, but it wouldn't happen during his lifetime and therefore he was never awarded one. 

He won many awards besides the Nobel Prize however. These included the Bruce Medal (1938), the Franklin Medal (1939), the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1940), and the Legion of Merit in 1946.

Images from the Hubble Telescope, via The Hubble Gallery 

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Orion Nebula: This dramatic image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image of the Orion Nebula. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. Ultraviolet light unleashed by the four central stars is carving a cavity in the nebula and disrupting the growth of hundreds of smaller stars. 

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Jet in Carina: Composed of gas and dust, the pillar resides in a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from nearby stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure. 

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What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour—fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes. A dying star is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow.

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I Zwicky 18

Scientist Pick: Hubble snapped a view of what may be the youngest galaxy ever seen. This "late bloomer" may not have begun active star formation until about 13 billion years after the Big Bang. Called I Zwicky 18, the galaxy may be as young as 500 million years old. This youngster has gone though several sudden bursts of star formation — the first only some 500 million years ago and the latest only 4 million years ago. This galaxy is typical of the kinds of galaxies that inhabited the early universe.

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DEM L 190

Resembling the puffs of smoke and sparks from a summer fireworks display, these delicate filaments are actually sheets of debris from a stellar explosion in a neighboring galaxy. Denoted N 49, or DEM L 190, this is the remnant of a massive star that died in a supernova blast whose light would have reached Earth thousands of years ago.

 

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 20 November 2014
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