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Harlow Shapley

Shapley, Harlow (shăpˈlē) [key], 1885–1972, American astronomer, b. Nashville, Mo., grad. Univ. of Missouri, 1910, Ph.D. Princeton, 1913. He was astronomer at Mt. Wilson Observatory from 1914 to 1921, when he became director of Harvard Observatory. He did notable research work in photometry and spectroscopy, devoting particular study to the structure of the universe. He determined the size of the Milky Way and the position of its center as well as the position of the sun in the galaxy. Among his other distinguished contributions were his investigations in the fields of Cepheid variables (he established that they are pulsating stars rather than eclipsing binaries) and globular clusters. Shapley's works include Galaxies (1943) and Of Stars and Men (1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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