Edwin Hubble

Scientist / Astronomer

Born: 20 November 1889
Died: 28 September 1953 (cerebral thrombosis)
Birthplace: Marshfield, Missouri
Best known as: The astronomer the Hubble space telescope is named after
Edwin Powell Hubble was the first astronomer to find observable evidence that the universe is expanding, a discovery which helped establish the theory of the "Big Bang." Hubble studied math and astronomy as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, but at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar he studied law (1910-13). After working briefly as a lawyer in Kentucky, he landed a position at the Yerkes Observatory at the University of Chicago, where he finished up a doctorate in astronomy. He served in France during World War I (rising to the rank of major), then began working in 1919 at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, where he studied nebulae with the largest telescope of the day. Hubble observed what he determined to be galaxies beyond our own, opening up the study of space beyond the Milky Way. By the end of the 1920s he had devised a classification system and found that these galaxies were also moving away from each other, giving support to the Big Bang theory. Many astronomy terms and tools now bear his name, the most famous of which is the Hubble space telescope, launched by the shuttle Discovery in 1990.
Extra credit: The primary mirror of the Hubble space telescope is 2.4 meters (about 94.5 inches) in diameter... Hubble graduated from the University of Chicago in 1910... He worked at Mount Wilson his entire career, except for his World War II service at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

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