The Light from Distant Nebulae

The Light from Distant Nebulae - The Light from Distant...

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Unformatted text preview: The Light from Distant Nebulae The powerful belief in a static universe could only be overturned by the weight of accumulating observations. The first of these observations had already been reported in 1915. Probably the observation was unknown to Einstein when he was developing his theory and corresponding with de Sitter. World War I had disrupted communications between the English-speaking nations and Germany, where Einstein worked, while de Sitter had only a second-hand, incomplete report of the crucial observation. The observation had been made at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Its founder, Percival Lowell, suspected that spectral lines seen in the light from one species of nebula, the "planetary" nebulae, might also be found in the spectra of spiral nebulae. In 1909 Lowell asked his assistant Vesto Slipher to get spectra of spiral nebulae. Slipher initially doubted that it could be done. Then he realized that for nebulae spectra of spiral nebulae....
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