Letter | Published:

Hyperbolic Space

Nature volume 140, pages 773774 (30 October 1937) | Download Citation



IN NATURE of October 9, 1937, under the heading "Red shifts and the Distribution of the Nebulæ", there is repeated a statement of Dr. Hubble's to the effect that hyperbolic space of negative curvature leads to a distance-distribution of nebulæ which is contrary to observation. It is, however, well known that the distances of nebulæ are in no sense 'observed': they are defined by means of theoretical formulæ in terms of the observed apparent magnitudes of the nebulæ. Moreover, the definitions vary with the process of distance-measurement envisaged. Dr. Hubble's statement is, therefore, only true if (a) we accept his particular definition of distance in terms of apparent photographic magnitude, and if (b) we also accept his identification of this distance with a certain one of the quantities figuring as distance in the model universes of general relativity.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Author information


  1. King's College, London, W.C.2.

    • G. C. MCVITTIE


  1. Search for G. C. MCVITTIE in:

About this article

Publication history





By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.