Edwin Hubble (1889-1953)

Edwin Hubble (1889-1953)


Edwin Hubble was born in Missouri and although always interested in astronomy, pursued a variety of other subjects as well at the University of Chicago. He then went as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University in England where he concentrated on law, Spanish, and heavy weight boxing. After two years of teaching at an Indiana high school, Hubble realized what his true vocation was and returned to the University of Chicago to study astronomy.

At Mt. Wilson Observatory in California, Hubble made the first accurate measurements of distances of spiral galaxies which showed that they are far away in space from our own galaxy milky way. It had been known for some time that such galaxies have red shifts in their spectra that indicate motion away from the Milky Way and Hubble joined his distance figures with the observed red shifts to conclude that the recession speeds were proportional to distance. This implies that the universe is expanding, a remarkable discovery that has led to modern picture of universe. Hubble was the first to use the 200-inch telescope, for many years the world’s largest, at Mt. Palomar in California, in 1949. In his later work Hubble tried to determine the structure of universe by finding how the concentration of remote galaxies varies with distance, a very difficult task that only today is being accomplished.


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