Biography Of Edwin Powell Hubble Essay

2412 words - 10 pages

“Eventually, we reach the utmost limits of our telescopes. There, we measure shadows and search among ghostly errors of measurement for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial,” is a quote about Hubble’s views on discovery and exploration of the universe (Hubble, 1936). Edwin Powell Hubble was born in Marshfield, Missouri, USA on November 29 1889 but later moved to Chicago with his family, where he completed his post secondary education and obtained an undergraduate degree in mathematics and astronomy, from the University of Chicago. To fulfill his father’s wish, Hubble being a dutiful son, later went on to study law at Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. Upon obtaining his law degree, Hubble successfully opened and operated a small practice back in the US. Seeing as law was never a passion of Hubble’s, as he stated, “It was astronomy that mattered” and knowing his heart lied elsewhere, Hubble once again went back to the University of Chicago to obtain his doctorate in astronomy (Mayall, 1970). Earlier in his life, as having broken the state record in high jump, Hubble was better known for his athletic prowess. Hubble today is lauded as a pioneer and a visionary, who went beyond the confines of his time to seek more and see farther out into the universe, on route making major discoveries and contributions into the vast field of astronomy.
Edwin Hubble’s exemplary work has revolutionized the way that scientists and astronomers presently look at the universe. After serving in World War I, Hubble accepted a position at California’s Mount Wilson Observatory to help build the Hooker telescope, at the time, world’s largest telescope measuring 2.5 meters or 100 inches. Following the completion of the Hooker telescope, Hubble worked closely with calculating the distances, by varying luminosity of the observed photographs taken by the telescope. At the time, it was thought that the universe entirely consisted of the Milky Way; this was quickly proven incorrect by Hubble’s observations. During his work, Hubble found Cepheid variable stars and several spiral nebulae which included the Andromeda Nebula and Triangulum. These Cepheid variable stars were highly unstable and emitted pulsated light periodically, making it difficult to observe them (Cepheid Stars, 2012). A determined Hubble deduced that these stars and nebulae were in fact farther and outside our Milky Way, as he calculated from his measurements that the Andromeda Nebula was approximately 900 000 light years away. This number through further analysis was later found to be approximately 2.4 million (Edwin Hubble Biography, 2014). All of this lead to the highly opposed conclusion of Hubble’s: that there are many other galaxies out in space and that the universe is not confined within our galaxy but rather goes beyond the Milky Way.
In the midst of his new and highly controversial conclusion, Hubble continued his exemplary work and developed a simple classification system for the...

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