Devotion is one characteristic in Hubble that allowed him to do his work so well. Whether it was devotion to his family or to his work. It started when he was just a youth; he was in a family of seven children and was expected to earn money for the family (Whitney 222).
Hubble’s devotion was mental and also physical. Hubble worked at Mount Wilson for most of his career. Here, “he spent hundreds of bone-numbing hours in the observer’s cage at Mount Wilson telescope. Anyone who has spent time in ‘the cage’ knows what an extraordinary effort of will it can demand: total concentration, and an ability to suppress shivers in the constant chill, lest you vibrate the telescope.” (Smoot 42).
Hubble’s hard work and long hours were recognized by his fellow astronomers. The author of Wrinkles in Time, George Smoot, said, “Night after night Hubble photographed the nebulae, devoting himself to his goal so completely that he was perceived as arrogant and elitist” (44).
Unable to complete his any tasks on his own, Hubble hired an assistant. He hired Sandage. Sandage would work with Hubble and learn techniques that Hubble used to hopefully do research of his own in the future. Hubble taught Sandage how to classify galaxies so he could continue Hubble’s work. As Hubble age, he was unable to use the telescope any more. He didn’t have the strength or energy to stay in the cage for long periods of time. So, he sent Sandage to carry out tasks for him. Everyday Sandage would be given coordinates or jobs by Hubble. When Sandage was done recording he data of his work, he would go back to Hubble and give him the results (Overbye 22). This shows how devoted he was to his research, even if he was unable to handle the job due to old age he compromised. All of Hubble’s work and Sandage work was done on the 100-in telescope, yet Hubble was still able to find the Andromeda Nebulae’s distance for the Milky Way and study red shifts. While the 200-in. telescope was being built, Hubble asked if he could use the telescope for half of its available time. This shows his devotion because he wanted to use the telescope in order to further enhance his research (17).
Edwin Hubble’s curiosity about the universe started at youth and has grown. Without this, he would have no desire to study the stars or galaxies. Hubble’s interest in astronomy at the age of eight. On his eighth birthday party he spent the night with his grandfather star gazing (Freidman 16). When he was twelve years old he would ask his parents to seep outside and look at the stars at midnight with his friend Sam Shelton (18). His grandfather asked Hubble an astronomical question, and Hubble answered it so cleverly that his grandfather had is answer published in a newspaper (Whitney 222). This was the start of his great accomplishments to come.
When Hubble was thirty years old, he worked at Wilson’s Observatory to use the newly built 100-in telescope (Christianson 110). He noticed that there were faint emissions from nebulae and that he might be able to use these emissions as a ruler; from star to the Milky Way. He studied these emissions and concluded that they were blue stars. With this knowledge, he was able to use these stars in aiding him to measure their distances (Whitney 225).
He was fascinated by Henrietta Leavitt’s work on Cepheid’s and he had to do his own research on them. Although finding the Cepheid’s in the galaxies were easier said than done, Hubble had to find them in remote galaxies. What he could find would enable him to get the calculations correct for measuring distances of nebulae away from the Milky Way (Moore 104). In this way Hubble’s curiosity had a great impact on his career as an astronomer.
Branley, Franklyn. The Milky Way: Galaxy Number One. New York: Crowell: 1969.
Christian, Gale E. Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae. New York: Farrows, 1995.
Dressler, Alan. Voyage to the Great Attractor: Exploring Intergalactic Space. New York: KNOPF, 1995.
Goudwin, Simon. Hubble’s Universe. New York: Penguin, 1997.
Smoot, George. Wrinkles in Time. New York: Morrow, 1993.