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1919 Cosmic Times

1919 Poster

This poster is the first edition of the Cosmic Times, with the publication date chosen to coincide with the announcement of the first test of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Einstein published the theory in 1915, but the first test supporting General Relativity was announced in 1919. In fact, it was this test of General Relativity that really propelled Einstein to "rock star" status.

1919 Article Overview

Age of Universe: Infinite
Size of Universe: 300,000 Light Years

Article Thread Summary
Sun's Gravity Bends Starlight Expanding Universe Observations of stars near the Sun during the eclipse of 1919 show that the starlight bends just as predicted by General Relativity.
Sidebar: Why a Total Eclipse? -- Describes why observers needed a solar eclipse to make observations of starlight bending around the Sun.
Mount Wilson Astronomer Estimates Milky Way Ten Times Bigger Than Thought Size of the Universe Astronomer Harlow Shapely finds that the Milky Way is 10 times bigger than previous measurements, using the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheid variables as discovered by Henrietta Leavitt.
Expanding or Contracting? Expanding Universe Einstein's theory of General Relativity predicts that the Universe cannot be static – it must be expanding or contracting. Einstein adds the "Cosmological Constant" to keep the Universe static.
In Their Own Words -- Snippets of papers published by other astronomers during this time. The snippets highlight the Cepheid period-luminosity relationship, redshift of galaxies, and the nature of spiral nebulae.

1919 Lesson Overview

Activity Summary Grade Discipline
    MS HS  
Einstein and His Times Students look at other 1919 events to decide if Einstein should be elected "Man of the Year" x x Multidisciplinary
Eclipses and Moon Phases Students explore how eclipses happen and why Einstein needed a total eclipse to image stars near the Sun. x   Earth Science, Physical Science
Two Versions of Gravity: Newton and Einstein Students explore the differences between Einstein and Newtonian gravity through an information exchange.   x Physics, Astronomy
Einstein's Gravity Students use hands-on demonstration to understand how General Relativity explains gravity and explores Einstein's theories through outside research.   x Physics, Astronomy

Cosmic Times is a product of the Imagine the Universe! website. Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan P. Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Cosmic Times Team

Curator:Barbara Mattson
Responsible NASA Official:Phil Newman

All material on this site has been created and updated between 2007-2016.

This page last updated: Monday, 29-Dec-2014 10:46:16 EST