Edwin Powell Hubble

by catcher Monday, July 23, 2012 9:22 PM

'The Yardstick Man'

Born: 20th November 1889, Marshfield, Missouri, USA
Died: 28th September 1953, San Marino, California, USA

Edwin Powell Hubble was one of the greatest astronomers of the twentieth century.He will always be remembered for the Law which bears his name; and more importantly for his pioneering efforts to put a ‘yardstick’ to the true size of the universe.

Edwin Powell Hubble (1889-1953) was without doubt one of the greatest astronomers who ever lived. Anybody with even a passing interest in the night sky will have seen the magnificent images taken by the great space telescope which now bears his name. Not so many will know why he was granted such an honour, or how as a young boy born into a working class family from an ordinary small Midwestern American town should now be its most famous citizen.

Marshfield, Missouri is to all intents and purposes – ‘Hubble Town’. As soon as you enter Marshfield off of the famous route 66 highway you know who was born here. There are signs for East and West Hubble Drive. The town’s elementary school is named the ‘Edwin P. Hubble Elementary School’. Outside of the town’s courthouse you might expect to see a statue of a former mayor or a famous judge – not in Marshfield – you have a replica of the Hubble Space Telescope to greet you!

What was it that Hubble did - to make him so famous? When you hear astronomers say this Galaxy was so many million light years away and that Galaxy is the most distant ever discovered – you have Edwin Powell Hubble to thank.

Until the pioneering work of Hubble in the 1920s, nobody had any real idea of how big the universe was. It was not even known whether certain ‘nebulae’ now known as Galaxies were within the confines of our own Milky Way or did they lay way beyond its boundaries as individual ‘Island Universes’.

Hubble was the first person to put a ‘yardstick’ to the size of the Universe by determining that Galaxies were in fact separate star systems lying at distances far beyond our Milky Way, whose light had left their boundaries long before man had even walked on the Earth.

To read more on his life and work read the eBook chapter on Edwin Powell Hubble or buy the Book 'Catchers of the Light'.

The 'Hubble Space Telescope', Marshfield Missouri

Buy the eBook or Printed Book at the 'Catchers of the Light' shop.


Pioneers of Astrophotography

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Stefan Hughes began his career as a professional astronomer, gaining a 1st Class Honours degree in Astronomy from the University of Leicester in 1974 and his PhD four years later on the 'Resonance Orbits of Artificial Satellites due to Lunisolar Perturbations', which was published as a series of papers in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. After graduating he became a Research fellow in Astronomy, followed by a spell as a lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Queen Mary College, London. Then came a ten year long career as an IT Consultant. In 'mid life' he spent several years retraining as a Genealogist, Record Agent and Architectural Historian, which he practiced for a number of years before moving to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where for the past ten years he has been imaging the heavens, as well as researching and writing the 'Catchers of the Light' - A History of Astrophotography.