California’s wildfires came worryingly close to burning down a treasured observatory. Sadly, fires aren’t the only threat to astronomy, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
7 October 2020
AS A teenager, I read Dennis Overbye’s history of cosmology, Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos. I was fascinated by the stories of now-dead men clashing, sometimes angrily, over measurements of what we would come to call the Hubble-Lemaître constant, which measures the rate of expansion of space-time.
Georges Lemaître first connected this idea with astronomical observations in 1927, and Edwin Hubble published the idea in English – along with substantive data to support it – in 1929. To achieve this, Hubble used the 2.5-metre Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, which was state-of-the-art equipment …