Biographies

Milton Lasalle Humason, Hubble's best assistant

Milton Lasalle Humason, Hubble's best assistant

Milton Lasalle Humason (United States, 1891 - 1972), was the astronomer responsible for discovering, together with Edwin Hubble, the Hubble law. This law serves to prove the expansion of the Universe, since it ensures that "the galaxies move away faster the farther they are."

Interestingly, Humason did not have any university training. In fact, he worked as a muleteer with the mules that were used in the construction of the Observatory on Mount Wilson, in Los Angeles (California). Later he became a caretaker, night assistant and administrative of this same observatory.

His interest and good predisposition led him to work with the famous astronomer and cosmologist Edwin Hubble, with whom he collaborated closely.

Humason's intervention was definitive in Hubble's studies, as he managed to accumulate the evidence necessary to ensure that the Universe expands in all directions. It has been doing it several billion years from a point of great concentration. It is one of the most outstanding astronomical discoveries of the 20th century.

Humason used a 2.5-meter telescope to perform the observations, and subsequently used the 5-meter Hale telescope at Monte Palomar, in San Diego, California. In this observatory he continued to collect spectra using the Hubble constant. With his calculations he came to determine the speed of removal of up to 620 galaxies.

He also applied the techniques to register spectra of weak objects to the study of other bodies, such as supernovae, novas that had exceeded their maximum brightness or blue dwarf stars. All their data were used for decades as a reference for further research.

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