Make a creationist crazy: Celebrate Hubble “Looking Up” Day!


Here’s another way to drive creationists absolutely up the wall:  Lift a glass of champagne today in tribute to Edwin Hubble and his great discovery.

Ultraviolet image of the Andromeda Galaxy, first known to be a galaxy by Edwin Hubble on December 30, 1924 - Galaxy Evolution Explorer image courtesy NASA

Ultraviolet image of the Andromeda Galaxy, first known to be a galaxy by Edwin Hubble on December 30, 1924 - Galaxy Evolution Explorer image courtesy NASA

Today is a good day to celebrate the universe in all it’s glory – December 30.

On December 30, 1924, Edwin Hubble announced he’d discovered other galaxies in distant space. Though it may not have been so clear at the time, it meant that, as a galaxy, we are not alone in the universe (whether we are alone as intelligent life is a separate question). It also meant that the universe is much, much bigger than most people had dared to imagine.


Below, mostly an encore post.

In 2008  for Hubble Day, Wired picked up on the story (with a gracious link to 2007′s post here at the Bathtub). Wired includes several links to even more information, a good source of information. See Wired’s 2009 post here.

Hubble was the guy who showed us the universe is not only bigger than we imagined, it’s probably much bigger and much more fantastic than we can imagine. Hubble is the guy who opened our imaginations to the vastness of all creation.

How does one celebrate Hubble Day? Here are some suggestions:

  • Easier than Christmas cards: Send a thank-you note to your junior high school science teacher, or whoever it was who inspired your interest in science. Mrs. Hedburg, Mrs. Andrews, Elizabeth K. Driggs, Herbert Gilbert, Mr. Willis, and Stephen McNeal, thank you.
  • Rearrange your Christmas/Hanukkah/Eid/KWANZAA lights in the shape of the Andromeda Galaxy — or in the shape of any of the great photos from the Hubble Telescope (Andromeda Galaxy pictured above; Hubble images here)

    A few of the images from the Hubble Telescope

    A few of the images from the Hubble Telescope

  • Go visit your local science museum; take your kids along – borrow somebody else’s kids if you have to (take them along, too)
  • Spend two hours in your local library, just looking through the books on astronomy and the universe
  • Anybody got a good recipe for a cocktail called “The Hubble?” “The Andromeda?” Put it in the comments, please

The encore post, from 2007:

December 30, 1924, Edwin Hubble announced the results of his observations of distant objects in space.

PBS

Edwin Hubble - source: PBS

In 1924, he announced the discovery of a Cepheid, or variable star, in the Andromeda Nebulae. Since the work of Henrietta Leavitt had made it possible to calculate the distance to Cepheids, he calculated that this Cepheid was much further away than anyone had thought and that therefore the nebulae was not a gaseous cloud inside our galaxy, like so many nebulae, but in fact, a galaxy of stars just like the Milky Way. Only much further away. Until now, people believed that the only thing existing outside the Milky Way were the Magellanic Clouds. The Universe was much bigger than had been previously presumed.

Later Hubble noted that the universe demonstrates a “red-shift phenomenon.” The universe is expanding. This led to the idea of an initial expansion event, and the theory eventually known as Big Bang.

Hubble’s life offered several surprises, and firsts:

Hubble was a tall, elegant, athletic, man who at age 30 had an undergraduate degree in astronomy and mathematics, a legal degree as a Rhodes scholar, followed by a PhD in astronomy. He was an attorney in Kentucky (joined its bar in 1913), and had served in WWI, rising to the rank of major. He was bored with law and decided to go back to his studies in astronomy.

In 1919 he began to work at Mt. Wilson Observatory in California, where he would work for the rest of his life. . . .
Hubble wanted to classify the galaxies according to their content, distance, shape, and brightness patterns, and in his observations he made another momentous discovery: By observing redshifts in the light wavelengths emitted by the galaxies, he saw that galaxies were moving away from each other at a rate constant to the distance between them (Hubble’s Law). The further away they were, the faster they receded. This led to the calculation of the point where the expansion began, and confirmation of the big bang theory. Hubble calculated it to be about 2 billion years ago, but more recent estimates have revised that to 20 billion years ago.

An active anti-fascist, Hubble wanted to joined the armed forces again during World War II, but was convinced he could contribute more as a scientist on the homefront. When the 200-inch telescope was completed on Mt. Palomar, Hubble was given the honor of first use. He died in 1953.

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”

That news on December 30, 1924, didn’t make the first page of the New York Times. The Times carried a small note on February 25, 1925, that Hubble won a $1,000 prize from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science.

(Does anyone have a suitable citation for that video? Where did it come from? Who produced it? Is there more somewhere?)

Happy Hubble Day! Look up!

Resources:

Hubble Space Telescope - NASA image

Hubble Space Telescope, working homage to Edwin Hubble - NASA image

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16 Responses to Make a creationist crazy: Celebrate Hubble “Looking Up” Day!

  1. Jim says:

    Nick says… Christians don’t deny how God created the world just because God did it in a way that indicates He wasn’t their puppet.

    This is actually quite profound, theologically. Well said, Nick.

    I’m not sure any theistic evolutionist would deny that God COULD HAVE created all that is in six, 24-hour days with just a few spoken words. God is no one’s puppet, liberal or conservative…evolutionist or creationist.

    But next to His Son, one of God’s most profound and greatest gifts to humanity is that of the mind. He blessed us with “intellect, reason and skill”, according to the Book of Common Prayer. It is incumbent on us to use those gifts lavishly and regularly. If the science pointed toward a literal, six-day creation…we’d be good to go. Our intellect informs us that it does not. Until we see some evidence (even a shred would help) debunking evolution, reason compels us to accept evolution as the most logical tool in the Almighty’s creative tool chest. And why not take billions of years? I rather suspect God likes to savor things.

    There is something so very western and industrial about “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” as a creative motif.

    Happy New Year all!

    Jim

    Like

  2. [...] Below, mostly an encore post — I keep trying to get people to celebrate. [...]

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  3. [...] Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Cool KWAANZA, Ebullient Edwin Hubble Looking Up Day, Happy New Year! GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); [...]

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  4. Millard Fillmore; American Minute…

    trackback >>The Moral Liberal: Defending the Judeo-Christian ethic, limited government, and the American constitution>>…

    Like

  5. Nick K says:

    First off, my apologies to Lower for saying that all creationists are either stupid or crazy. That was wrong of me and I do apologize.

    That being said, Lower, let me make this clear.

    Creationism and its kissing cousin “Intelligent Design” doesn’t..under any circumstances…belong in any science classroom on the planet. Neither is science and they don’t belong. They are religious belief. If you want your church to teach them go right ahead. If you want to teach them to your kids..go right ahead. I really don’t care. Just kindly make sure that you and your fellow Creationists/ID’ers knock off any attempt to get it in science classrooms in schools.

    Nor does the theory of evolution somehow preclude God. It isn’t an attack on Christianity or God or anything of that nature. It is simply a scientific theory…just like the theory of gravity.

    The United States can ill afford this “Creationism vs Evolution” debate. We are losing ground scientifically in this country. We simply can’t afford to pretend that what is Christian religious belief somehow becomes scientific theory. so with all due respect…keep ID/Creationism where it belongs and quit trying to force it where it doesn’t belong at all.

    Like

  6. Nick K says:

    Oh Happy New Years to you as well, Lower. And I hope your Christmas went well.

    Like

  7. [...] Borrowed with express permission from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. [...]

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  8. Ed Darrell says:

    I love what Louie Giglio said about the universe: (to paraphrase) “If this universe exists just for us to enjoy, then it’s way too big! If it exists to show just how big God really is, I’d say it’s just about the right size!”

    Hubble gives us more reasons to praise God for His creation. For those amazing pictures, I am truly thankful!

    Seems to me you’ve come a long way from literalism, Joe!

    Not far enough yet, but a long way.

    Like

  9. lowerleavell says:

    Happy New Year to you too, Nic. ;-)

    Like

  10. lowerleavell says:

    Happy New Year to you too Nic. ;-)

    Like

  11. Nick K says:

    Yeah its a pity, Lower, that creationists faith in God is so pathetically weak.

    And yes…some Creationists are crazy. The rest are just plain stupid.

    But none of them are actual Christians. After all…Christians don’t deny how God created the world just because God did it in a way that indicates He wasn’t their puppet.

    Like

  12. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alltop Education, Kendrick Brix. Kendrick Brix said: Today, in 1924, Edwin Hubble announced to the world he had observed other galaxies in space. Way to rock it Ed! http://j.mp/hJeZXH [...]

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  13. lowerleavell says:

    I thought you guys already thought that creationists were crazy – how would this post make a difference? :-)

    I love what Louie Giglio said about the universe: (to paraphrase) “If this universe exists just for us to enjoy, then it’s way too big! If it exists to show just how big God really is, I’d say it’s just about the right size!”

    Hubble gives us more reasons to praise God for His creation. For those amazing pictures, I am truly thankful!

    Like

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