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The Expanding Universe and the Origin of the Great Nebulæ


IT is widely accepted that the system of great nebulæ is at present in a state of uniform expansion, the relative velocity of recession between any two members of the system being proportional to their mutual distance. Thus we can write ½ = αr, where the coefficient α has, according to Hubble1, the value 3 × 10—17 sec.—1. If we accept also the uniformity of expansion with time, that is, if we suppose that the relative velocity of any two nebulæ is constant, we can easily calculate that about 109 years ago all nebulæ were side by side, that is, space was uniformly filled up with the stars. This epoch should thus be considered as the epoch of the formation of stellar accumulations known at present as great nebulæ.

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  1. Hubble, E., "The Realm of Nebulæ" (Yale Univ. Press, 1936).

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  2. Jeans, J. H., "Astronomy and Cosmogony" (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1928).

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  3. Tolman, R. C., "Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology" (Oxford University Press, 1938).

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GAMOW, G., TELLER, E. The Expanding Universe and the Origin of the Great Nebulæ. Nature 143, 116–117 (1939).

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