Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 1988-1992


Shapley, Harlow

  • Virginia TrimbleAffiliated withUniversity of California, Irvine School of Physical Sciences
  • , Horace A. SmithAffiliated withMichigan State University

Bornnear Nashville, Missouri, USA, 2 November 1885

DiedBoulder, Colorado, USA, 20 October 1972

Shapley, Harlow. Reproduced by permission of AIP Emilie Segrè Visual Archives, Harlow Shapley Collection

American observational astronomer Harlow Shapley obtained the data that showed incontrovertibly that the Solar System is not near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, as virtually all astronomers had thought since the time of William Herschel. His name is remembered in the Shapley concentration of galaxies (a very extensive supercluster) and in the Shapley-Ames catalog of nearby galaxies. Shapley was the son of Willis and Sarah (née Stowell) Shapley. After completing elementary school and a short business course, and before graduating from high school in 1907 (first in a class of three from Carthage Collegiate Institution in Carthage, Missouri), he spent several years as a newspaper reporter – first in Chanute, Kansas, and then in Joplin, Missouri. Shapley then entered the University of Missou ...

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