Harlow Shapley, American astronomer

Harlow Shapley, American astronomer

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Harlow Shapley. Portrait of Harlow Shapley (1885- 1972), American astronomer. Shapley measured the distribution of globular clusters around our galaxy using Leavitt's Cepheid Variable method of estimating stellar distances in 1915. He showed that the centre of this globular system is in the direction of Sagittarius, implying that our Sun is near the edge of our galaxy. He discovered the first two dwarf galaxies, companions to our own galaxy, and studied the Magellanic Clouds. During 1921-52 he was director of Harvard College Observatory, and was mainly responsible for its prolific research output and admirable teaching programme during that period.

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Keywords: astronomer, discoverer, dwarf, dwarf galaxy, galaxy, galaxy size, globular cluster astronomer, harlow, milky way size, portraits, researcher, shapley, surname s

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