Almost Yesterday: Edwin Hubble
It seems like almost yesterday that a teacher told me when I was very young, that the Milky Way was the very end of our universe. Like many youngsters I was curious about the end of the universe and what was beyond the Milky Way.
The person who helped all of us more clearly understand our complex galactic world was Edwin Hubble of Marshfield, Missouri. Most recognized for the Hubble Space Telescope which was named in his honor, this remarkable young man was an outstanding high school athlete, winning the Missouri State HighJump championship, and leading the University of Chicago to their first college championship in basketball.
Hubble first graduated with a degree in law, and then went back to graduate school in Chicago to study science and the universe. He became the first astronomer to use the new Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego. His findings there changed the scientific view of the universe. He created a system for classifying galaxies grouping them according to their images and arranging them and what are now called "Hubble sequences."
Hubble went on to estimate the distances to 24 extra-galactic Nebuale, using a variety of methods. In 1929 Hubble examined the relationship between these distances and their radial velocities. It seems like almost yesterday that this scientist from a small town in western Missouri changed how we think about our world.