Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Humason, Milton Lassell

  • Virginia TrimbleEmail author
  • Eugene F. Milone
Reference work entry

BornDodge Center, Minnesota, USA, 19 August 1891

DiedMendocino, California, USA, 18 June 1972

American observational astronomer Milton Humason is eponymized in the Humason-Zwicky stars, but his most important contribution was undoubtedly the exposure of spectrograms of large numbers of faint galaxies on the Mount Wilson Observatory 100-in. and Palomar Mountain Observatory 200-in. telescopes, which were used to estimate values of the Hubble constant from 1929 to 1956, including values reported by  Edwin Hubble himself. Humason had roughly an eighth-grade education, plus an honorary D.Sc. (1950) from Lund Observatory. He married Helen Dowd in 1910 or 1911, and they had one son.

The involvement of Milton Humason with Mount Wilson Observatory began during the construction of the 100-in. telescope (which saw first light in 1917). Humason was a mule packer and driver hauling equipment and supplies up the 10-grade dirt road. When the telescope was completed, he was hired as a janitor, and, 2...

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Selected References

  1. Anon. (1973) “Humason, Milton Lassell. ” In Who Was Who in America. Vol. 5, p. 356. Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who.Google Scholar
  2. Bowen, Ira S. (1973). “Milton Lassell Humason.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 14: 235–236.ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. Hubble, Edwin (1929). “A Relation between Distance and Radial Velocity among Extra-Galactic Nebulae.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 15: 168–173.ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hubble, Edwin and Milton L. Humason (1931). “The Velocity-Distance Relation among Extra-Galactic Nebulae.” Astrophysical Journal 74: 43–80.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. — (1934). “The Velocity-Distance Relation for Isolated Extragalactic Nebulae.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 20: 264–268.Google Scholar
  6. Humason, Milton L. (1929). “The Large Radial Velocity of N. G. C. 7619.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 15: 167–168.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. — (1931). “Apparent Velocity-Shifts in the Spectra of Faint Nebulae.” Astrophysical Journal 74: 35–42.Google Scholar
  8. — (1936). “The Apparent Radial Velocities of 100 Extra-Galactic Nebulae.” Astrophysical Journal 83: 10–22.Google Scholar
  9. Humason, Milton L., N. U. Mayall, and A. R. Sandage (1956). “Redshifts and Magnitudes of Extragalactic Nebulae.” Astronomical Journal 61: 97–162.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Nicholls, C. S. (ed.) (1997). “Humason, M. L.” In Encyclopedia of Biography. New York: St. Martin’s Press, p. 427.Google Scholar
  11. Sandage, Alan R. (2004). Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Vol. 1, The Mount Wilson Observatory: Breaking the code of Cosmic Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. — (2003). Private correspondence to the authors.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, Irvine School of Physical SciencesIrvineUSA
  2. 2.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada