Connecting campuses to promote excellence in math and science


Jeff Wilkerson

Luther College
At Home in the Milky Way
When Harlow Shapley used globular star clusters to expand the known size of the Milky Way by an order of magnitude it echoed the growth of the known universe when Kepler and Brahe moved us from geocentrism to heliocentrism. Edwin Hubble's determination that the Milky Way is just one in a sea of galaxies expanded the universe dramatically once again. We will look at our knowledge of the size and structure of the galaxy and the galaxy's place in the universe. How this knowledge grew, from Brahe through Hubble to Vera Rubin's conception of dark matter, serves as a model of what astronomy, and science more broadly, is. The fingerprint of this story can be seen in astronomical projects being carried in backyards, on small college campuses, at large research centers, at mountaintop observatories and in space.
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