Maarten Schmidt, Dutch astronomer

Maarten Schmidt, Dutch astronomer

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Maarten Schmidt (born 1929), Dutch astronomer. Schmidt earned his PhD from Leiden Observatory in 1956 and emigrated to the USA in 1959 to work at Caltech (the California Institute of Technology) on theories about the mass distribution and dynamics of galaxies. In 1963 he used the famous 200 inch (508 centimetre) telescope at Palomar Observatory, California, to study a new radio source (now known as quasars) and obtain an optical spectrum. This revealed strange emission lines, which proved to be spectral lines of redshifted hydrogen. This discovery revolutionized quasar observation and allowed other astronomers to find redshifts from the emission lines from other radio sources.

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