Sunday, April 16, 2023

Rubin's Galaxy

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature of Science, History of Science, Astronomy, Astrophysics

Ed Hessler

A Hubble Space Telescope image of Rubin's Galaxy (UGC 2885) is featured in this Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. UGC refers to the Uppsala General Catalogue of Galaxies.

The explanation includes a link to the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics  published An Interesting Voyage - Vera C. Rubin (49:1 - 28).  Whether you know who she was or not, this essay is worth every word. The link was slow in loading so be patient if that is your experience. 

Below is the abstract. I love the brief description of her decision to become an astronomer.

My life has been an interesting voyage. I became an astronomer because I could not imagine living on Earth and not trying to understand how the Universe works. My scientific career has revolved around observing the motions of stars within galaxies and the motions of galaxies within the Universe. In 1965, if you were very lucky and interested in using telescopes, you could walk into a research laboratory that was building instruments that reduced exposure times by a factor of 10 and end up making remarkable discoveries. Women generally required more luck and perseverance than men did. It helped to have supportive parents and a supportive husband.

And here is the Wiki entry about Dr. Rubin. It includes a note on "The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe." a children's book by Sandra Nickel and beautifully illustrated by Aimee Sicuro. The Amazon link allows a peek inside. The age range seems ambitious (age 6) and also seems appropriate for children older than the upper end (9).

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