A Relation between Distance and Radial Velocity among Extra-Galactic Nebulae

HUBBLE, Edwin

Editorial: In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 3. [Washington, D.C.]: Carnegie Institution, 1929., 1929
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Título: A Relation between Distance and Radial ...

Editorial: In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 3. [Washington, D.C.]: Carnegie Institution, 1929.

Año de publicación: 1929

Encuadernación: Hardcover

Condición del libro: Fine

Edición: 1st Edition

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THE MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERY OF 20th-CENTURY ASTRONOMY: EDWIN HUBBLE’S DISCOVERY OF THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE. Hubble's discovery “made as great a change in man’s conception of the universe as the Copernican revolution 400 years before." -Dictionary of Scientific Biography. FIRST EDITION of Edwin Hubble’s landmark paper documenting what would later become known as Hubble’s Law, stating that there is a proportional relationship between a galaxy’s recession velocity and its distance from the Earth. One of the most profound discoveries in science, Hubble’s data provided evidence of an expanding universe, thereby providing the essential argument for the Big Bang theory, proving the natural implications of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, and ultimately allowing for the determination of the age of the universe. By the early 1920’s advances in spectroscopy had allowed for the observance of a curious “redshifting” of galaxies, indicating that the majority of galaxies seemed to be receding from the Milky Way. The evidence was rudimentary and inconclusive and “various weird and wonderful explanations were put forward, but there was no consensus. The case of the receding galaxies remained a mystery until Edwin Hubble applied his mind and his telescope to the problem. When he entered the debate he saw no point in wild theorizing, particularly when the power of the mighty 100-inch Mount Wilson telescope held the promise of new data.” To solve the redshift mystery, Hubble and his assistant Milton Humason “divided the work between them. Humason would measure the Doppler shifts of numerous galaxies, and Hubble set about measuring their distances… By 1929 Hubble and Humason had gauged the redshifts and distances for forty-six galaxies.” Using only the twenty that were within an acceptable margin of error for their measurements, Hubble plotted velocity versus distance for each galaxy. “In almost every case the galaxies were redshifted, implying they were receding. Also, the points on the graph seemed to indicate that the velocity of a galaxy strongly depended on its distance. Hubble drew a straight line through the data, suggesting that the velocity of a given galaxy was proportional to its distance from the Earth… “If Hubble was right, the repercussions were immense. The galaxies were not randomly dashing through the cosmos, but instead their speeds were mathematically related to their distances, and when scientists see such a relationship they search for a deeper significance. In this case, the significance was nothing less than the realization that at some point in history all the galaxies in the universe had been compacted into the same small region. This was the first observational evidence to hint at what we now call the Big Bang. It was the first clue that there might have been a moment of creation.” (Simon Singh, Big Bang). Two additional implications of Hubble’s discovery were that, through the use of Hubble’s Law and the accurate determination of Hubble’s proportionality constant, the age of the universe could be determined; also, it confirmed the natural result of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity which predicted an expanding universe (before Einstein added his “cosmological term” to prevent this seemingly impossible conclusion). After Hubble’s discovery proved the unnecessary and incorrect inclusion of the forced “cosmological term” in Einstein’s theory, Einstein sought out Hubble to congratulate him, later calling his cosmological term “the biggest blunder he ever made in his life.”The entire volume offered. Quarto, elegant modern three-quarter morocco. A few stamps to outer corner of a few pages (none to Hubble paper). Binding and Hubble paper in fine condition. For more information and images, please visit our website. N° de ref. de la librería


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Descripción: Carnegie Institu, Washington, D.c., 1929. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: Fine. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION of Edwin Hubble's landmark paper documenting what would later become known as Hubble's Law, stating that there is a proportional relationship between a galaxy's recession velocity and its distance from the Earth. One of the most profound discoveries in science, Hubble's data provided evidence of an expanding universe, thereby providing the essential argument for the Big Bang theory, proving the natural implications of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, and ultimately allowing for the determination of the age of the universe. By the early 1920's advances in spectroscopy had allowed for the observance of a curious "redshifting" of galaxies, indicating that the majority of galaxies seemed to be receding from the Milky Way. The evidence was rudimentary and inconclusive and "various weird and wonderful explanations were put forward, but there was no consensus. The case of the receding galaxies remained a mystery until Edwin Hubble applied his mind and his telescope to the problem. When he entered the debate he saw no point in wild theorizing, particularly when the power of the mighty 100-inch Mount Wilson telescope held the promise of new data." To solve the redshift mystery, Hubble and his assistant Milton Humason "divided the work between them. Humason would measure the Doppler shifts of numerous galaxies, and Hubble set about measuring their distances. By 1929 Hubble and Humason had gauged the redshifts and distances for forty-six galaxies." Using only the twenty that were within an acceptable margin of error for their measurements, Hubble plotted velocity versus distance for each galaxy. "In almost every case the galaxies were redshifted, implying they were receding. Also, the points on the graph seemed to indicate that the velocity of a galaxy strongly depended on its distance. Hubble drew a straight line through the data, suggesting that the velocity of a given galaxy was proportional to its distance from the Earth. "If Hubble was right, the repercussions were immense. The galaxies were not randomly dashing through the cosmos, but instead their speeds were mathematically related to their distances, and when scientists see such a relationship they search for a deeper significance. In this case, the significance was nothing less than the realization that at some point in history all the galaxies in the universe had been compacted into the same small region. This was the first observational evidence to hint at what we now call the Big Bang. It was the first clue that there might have been a moment of creation." (Simon Singh, Big Bang). Two additional implications of Hubble's discovery were that, through the use of Hubble's Law and the accurate determination of Hubble's proportionality constant, the age of the universe could be determined; also, it confirmed the natural result of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity which predicted an expanding universe (before Einstein added his "cosmological term" to prevent this seemingly impossible conclusion). After Hubble's discovery proved the unnecessary and incorrect inclusion of the forced "cosmological term" in Einstein's theory, Einstein sought out Hubble to congratulate him, later calling his cosmological term "the biggest blunder he ever made in his life." In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 3. [Washington, D.C.]: Carnegie Institution, 1929. The entire volume offered. Quarto, elegant modern three-quarter morocco. A few stamps to outer corner of a few pages (none to Hubble paper). Binding and Hubble paper in fine condition. Nº de ref. de la librería 238

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Descripción: National Academy of Sciences, Washington, 1929. First edition. A fine copy, in the rare original printed wrappers, of Hubble’s landmark paper which "is generally regarded as marking the discovery of the expansion of the universe" (Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers). It established what would later become known as Hubble’s Law: that galaxies recede from us in all directions and more distant ones recede more rapidly in proportion to their distance. " the repercussions were immense. The galaxies were not randomly dashing through the cosmos, but instead their speeds were mathematically related to their distances, and when scientists see such a relationship they search for a deeper significance. In this case, the significance was nothing less than the realization that at some point in history all the galaxies in the universe had been compacted into the same small region. This was the first observational evidence to hint at what we now call the Big Bang" (Simon Singh, Big Bang). Hubble’s "result has come to be regarded as the outstanding discovery in twentieth-century astronomy. It made as great a change in man’s conception of the universe as the Copernican revolution 400 years before" (DSB). In the early 1920s most astronomers believed that the universe was static and unchanging on the large scale. Einstein himself had introduced his ‘cosmological constant’ in 1917 to allow solutions of the equations of general relativity corresponding to a static universe. Two such solutions were found: Einstein’s matter-filled universe and Willem de Sitter’s empty universe. The latter model attracted much interest because it predicted redshifts for very distant objects, something which had been observed as early as 1912 by Vesto Slipher. However, De Sitter’s model was conceived by astronomers to be no less static than Einstein’s. In 1922 Alexander Friedmann developed a model of an evolutionary universe, which could be expanding, and this was re-discovered by Georges Lemaître in 1927. But Lemaître went further: he established theoretically the proportional relationship between the rate of expansion and distance. Important as these theoretical developments were, it was only observational data that could establish which of the models, if any, corresponded to the actual universe. By the late 1920s, Edwin Powell Hubble (1889-1953) had established himself as the leading expert on extragalactic nebulae (now called ‘galaxies’). Trained at Yerkes Observatory, in 1919 Hubble had joined the staff of the Carnegie Institution’s Mount Wilson Observatory, the leading astrophysical observatory in the world, where he had access to the largest telescope in the world, the 100-inch Hooker reflector. With its aid, he had established in 1924 and 1925 that the spiral nebulae are external galaxies lying far beyond our own Milky Way galaxy, and that the observed universe is therefore much larger than our own galaxy. "By 1929 Hubble had obtained distances for eighteen isolated galaxies and for four members of the Virgo cluster. In that year he used this somewhat restricted body of data to make the most remarkable of all his discoveries and the one that made his name famous far beyond the ranks of professional astronomers. This was what is now known as Hubble’s law of proportionality of distance and radial velocity of galaxies. Since 1912, when V. M. Slipher at the Lowell Observatory had measured the radial velocity of a galaxy (M 31) for the time by observing the Doppler displacement of its spectral lines, velocities had been obtained of some forty-six galaxies, forty-one by Slipher himself. Attempts to correlate these velocities with other properties of the galaxies concerned, in particular their apparent diameters, had been made by Carl Wirtz, Lundmark, and others; but no definite, generally acceptable result had been obtained. In 1917 W. de Sitter had constructed, on the basis of Einstein’s cosmological equations, an ideal world-model (of vanishingly small average density) which predicted red shifts, indicative of recession. Nº de ref. de la librería 3407

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