Edwin Hubble, was an American astronomer who has had an enormous impact on science, often compared to Isaac Newton and Galileo. Hubble has helped change our thoughts and perception of the universe in two important ways. First, Hubble confirmed the existence of other galaxies other than the Milky Way, during a time when many people thought the Milky Way was the entire universe. Secondly, with the help of other astronomers, he confirmed that the universe was expanding at a constant rate by developing a mathematical concept to back up this statement, now known as Hubble's Law.
Born on November 20, 1889, in Marshfield, Missouri, Edwin Powell Hubble was the third of seven children. Hubble spent his early childhood in Missouri with his father, John P. Hubble, and his mother, Virginia Lee James Hubble. In 1895, Edwin entered grade school. After grade school, Edwin went to Wheaton High School, where he excelled in both academics and sports. In 1906, Hubble graduated at the age of sixteen from Wheaton High School, two years earlier than most students. Because of his outstanding efforts at Wheaton High School, Edwin received an academic scholarship to the University of Chicago.
Hubble studied mathematics, physics, chemistry, and astronomy at the University of Chicago. In 1910, Hubble graduated with a B.S. in mathematics and astronomy and was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship. After graduating from the University of Chicago, Edwin went to Queen's College at the University of Oxford in England. There he studied the two-year course of jurisprudence, which he completed in 1912. Hubble returned to the United States in 1913 to begin practicing law in Louisville, Kentucky, where is family was living. In 1914, after becoming bored with law after only a year, Hubble returned to the University of Chicago to work towards his doctorate in astronomy.
During the time period that Hubble attended the University of Chicago it did not actually offer formal courses in astronomy. However, Hubble did study on his own make regular observations on Yerkes telescope. He worked under the supervision of Edwin B. Frost, the observatory's director. Hubble also met astronomer George Ellery Hale during his term at Yerkes. Hale was the director of the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California, and founder of the Yerkes Observatory. Hubble finally began work at Mount Wilson in 1919, after attaining the rank of major in World War I. The Mount Wilson Observatory had two telescopes, a 60-inch reflector and a newly operational 100-inch telescope, the largest in the world at that time.
It was here at Mount Wilson that Hubble began the major portion of his life's work. Hubble's first notable achievement at Mount Wilson was made in October 1923. As stated before, he confirmed the existence of galaxies outside the Milky Way. In 1925, at a meeting of the International Astronomical Union, Hubble introduced a system for classifying galaxies. Galaxies were either regular or irregular according to this system.
Also, regular galaxies were divided into either elliptical or spiral, and each of these classes could be divided again. The system used today is still based on Hubble's structure. Hubble made another huge discovery while at Mount Wilson. He discovered a correlation between the velocities of galaxies and distance, and came up with a mathematical concept which is now know as Hubble's Law.
It states that the farther away a galaxy is from us, the faster it is moving away from us. Hubble didn t actually discover that the universe is expanding, he just put a theory together that explained it better. Today, Hubble's Law is part of the big-bang theory of the creation of the universe. Hubble not only was a pioneer in astronomy, he also helped develop the Mount Palomar Observatory in California, as well as the 200-inch Hale telescope.
Hubble received many awards for his contributions to astronomy. Probably the thing he is known for best for is the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched by NASA in 1990. Hubble was in the process of working on The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies, when he died of cerebral thrombosis on September 28, 1953. In conclusion, Edwin Hubble was one of the most important men in astronomy..