Hule’s Great Discovery 143
But his most
outstanding quality
was that he always
continued to pursue
new discoveries
without relying only
on knowledge or
experience.
The origins of
theUniverse:
“Hubble’s Great
Discovery—Act I”
1923
Mount Wilson
Observatory
Um...
What...is...the...mat...ter,
Hub...ble?
Coeague
C'mon! This is
the first time
I've ever bn
in a play!
The Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) in Los Angeles
County, California, is located on Mount Wilson,
which has an elevation of 1,742 meters (5,715 ft).
It is said that Mount Wilson is one of the places in
North America with the most stable atmosphere. The
observatory was built in 1902.
Hule
Youre
teible!
Ack!
Gasp!
In 1919, Hule became a sta member
at the Mount Wilson Observatory,
which had the world’s largest
telescope at that time. He spent the
rest of his life working there, making
careful observations of the universe.
This observatory is
where he made his
first great discovery.
Mount Wilson
Observatory
144 Chapter 3
Although I've made
observations about
the Andromeda nebula
for some time...
...when I tried to
calculate its distance
from earth, I ended up
with an unbelievable
number.
How far away
is it?
Roughly, more
than 900,000
light-years.
900,000
light-
years?!
In the Great Debate*
thr years ago,
Shapley argued that
the diameter of the
Milky Way galaxy is
150,000light-years!
900,000 light-years
That would put the
Andromeda Nebula
outside of our galaxy,
wouldn’t it?
At that time,
Andromeda was
thought to be inside
our own galaxy.
In fact, a
observable
heavenly bodies
were thought
to be inside our
ga laxy.
So the Milky
Way galaxy was
sti thought of
as being equal
to the whole
universe.
* The “Great Debate” was a 1920 debate betwn the two American astronomers
Heber Doust Curtis and Harlow Shapley concerning whether or not the
Andromeda Nebula was outside of our galaxy. At that time, the diameter of the
Milky way galaxy was thought to be aroximately 150,000 light-years.
Even though research
advanced and our view of
the solar system, galaxy,
and universe changed, we
sti wanted to think that
Earth was at the center
ofthe universe.
It’s probably just
human nature to
believe in something
like the geocentric
theory, which puts us
at the center of the
known universe.
Why was
Andromeda
caed a
nebula? Isn't
ita galaxy?
Question!
Until about 100 years
ago, Andromeda was
thought to be a nebula,
an interstear cloud
of maer in which
starsform.
That’s why it
was refeed
to as the
Andromeda
Nebula.
Yeah...but 900,000light-years
is not the coect number. The
latest research tes us that
it is aroximately 2.52miion
light-years away from Earth.
Oh my!!
Determining that
Andromeda, which had
bn thought to be
part of our galaxy,
is actuay more than
900,000 light-years
away is just amazing!
Ahem!
2.52 miion light-years

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