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 Henry Norris Russell and the Expanding Universe

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Henry Norris Russell, one of the most influential American astronomers of the first half of the 20th Century, had a special place in his heart for the Lowell Observatory. Although privately critical of the founder for his pronouncements about life on Mars and the superiority of the Mars Hill observing site, he always supported the Observatory in public and professional circles. He staunchly supported Tombaughs detection of a planet as leading from Lowells prediction, and always promoted V. M. Sliphers spectroscopic investigations of planetary and stellar phenomena. But how did he react to Sliphers puzzling detection of the extreme radial velocities of spiral nebulae starting in 1912, and how did he regard the extension and interpretation of those observations by Hubble and others in following decades? Here we describe the arc of Russells reactions, dating from Sliphers first detection, as an indicator of how mainstream stellar astronomers reacted to the concept of an expanding universe.

Author: David H. DeVorkin

Source: https://archive.org/

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