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Hubble's Diagram and Cosmic Expansion

Robert P. Kirshner
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 101, No. 1 (Jan. 6, 2004), pp. 8-13
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3148363
Page Count: 6
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Hubble's Diagram and Cosmic Expansion
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Abstract

Edwin Hubble's classic article on the expanding universe appeared in PNAS in 1929 [Hubble, E. P. (1929) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 15, 168-173]. The chief result, that a galaxy's distance is proportional to its redshift, is so well known and so deeply embedded into the language of astronomy through the Hubble diagram, the Hubble constant, Hubble's Law, and the Hubble time, that the article itself is rarely referenced. Even though Hubble's distances have a large systematic error, Hubble's velocities come chiefly from Vesto Melvin Slipher, and the interpretation in terms of the de Sitter effect is out of the mainstream of modern cosmology, this article opened the way to investigation of the expanding, evolving, and accelerating universe that engages today's burgeoning field of cosmology.

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