William Huggins

Portrait by John Collier, 1905
William Huggins (1910)
Caricature of Huggins by Leslie Ward in Vanity Fair

English astronomer best known for his pioneering work in astronomical spectroscopy together with his wife, Margaret.

- William Huggins

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Margaret Lindsay Huggins

Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins (14 August 1848, in Dublin – 24 March 1915, in London),

Margaret Lindsay Huggins

With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-wrote the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra (1899).

Radial velocity

Observer is the rate of change of the distance or range between the two points.

A plane flying past a radar station: the plane's velocity vector (red) is the sum of the radial velocity (green) and the tangential velocity (blue).
Diagram showing how an exoplanet's orbit changes the position and velocity of a star as they orbit a common center of mass
The radial velocity method to detect exoplanets

William Huggins ventured in 1868 to estimate the radial velocity of Sirius with respect to the Sun, based on observed redshift of the star's light.

Andromeda Galaxy

Barred spiral galaxy with diameter of about 220,000 ly approximately 2.5 e6ly from Earth and the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way.

The Andromeda Galaxy with satellite galaxies M32 (center left above the galactic nucleus) and M110 (center left below the galaxy)
Great Andromeda "Nebula" (M110 to upper left), as photographed by Isaac Roberts, 1899.
Location of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in the Andromeda constellation.
Andromeda Galaxy near upper-left of the Very Large Telescope. The Triangulum Galaxy is visible on the top.
The Andromeda Galaxy as seen by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.
The Andromeda Galaxy pictured in ultraviolet by GALEX (2003).
Illustration showing both the size of each galaxy and the distance between the two galaxies, to scale.
Giant halo around Andromeda Galaxy.
The Andromeda Galaxy (M110 below) seen in infrared by the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of NASA's four Great Space Observatories.
Image of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Spitzer in infrared, 24 micrometres (Credit:NASA/JPL–Caltech/Karl D. Gordon, University of Arizona).
A Galaxy Evolution Explorer image of the Andromeda Galaxy. The bands of blue-white making up the galaxy's striking rings are neighborhoods that harbor hot, young, massive stars. Dark blue-grey lanes of cooler dust show up starkly against these bright rings, tracing the regions where star formation is currently taking place in dense cloudy cocoons. When observed in visible light, the Andromeda Galaxy's rings look more like spiral arms. The ultraviolet view shows that these arms more closely resemble the ring-like structure previously observed in infrared wavelengths with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Astronomers using the latter interpreted these rings as evidence that the galaxy was involved in a direct collision with its neighbor, M32, more than 200 million years ago.
Hubble image of the Andromeda Galaxy core showing possible double structure. NASA/ESA photo.
Artist's concept of the Andromeda Galaxy's core, showing a view across a disk of young, blue stars encircling a supermassive black hole. NASA/ESA photo.
Chandra X-ray telescope image of the center of the Andromeda Galaxy. A number of X-ray sources, likely X-ray binary stars, within the galaxy's central region appear as yellowish dots. The blue source at the center is at the position of the supermassive black hole.
The Andromeda Galaxy in high-energy X-ray and ultraviolet light (released 5 January 2016).
Star clusters in the Andromeda Galaxy.

In 1864 Sir William Huggins noted that the spectrum of Andromeda differed from that of a gaseous nebula.

Planetary nebula

Type of emission nebula consisting of an expanding, glowing shell of ionized gas ejected from red giant stars late in their lives.

X-ray/optical composite image of the Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543)
NGC 6326, a planetary nebula with glowing wisps of outpouring gas that are lit up by a binary central star
NGC 7293, the Helix Nebula.
NGC 2392, the Eskimo Nebula.
Planetary nebula NGC 3699 is distinguished by an irregular mottled appearance and a dark rift.
Computer simulation of the formation of a planetary nebula from a star with a warped disk, showing the complexity which can result from a small initial asymmetry.
The Necklace Nebula consists of a bright ring, measuring about two light-years across, dotted with dense, bright knots of gas that resemble diamonds in a necklace. The knots glow brightly due to absorption of ultraviolet light from the central stars.
ESO 455-10 is a planetary nebula located in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion).
NGC 6720, the Ring Nebula
Lemon slice nebula (IC 3568).
Abell 78, 24 inch telescope on Mt. Lemmon, AZ. Courtesy of Joseph D. Schulman.
thumb|<center>Odd pair of aging stars sculpt spectacular shape of planetary nebula.</center><ref>{{cite news|title=Cosmic Sprinklers Explained|url=http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1244/|access-date=13 February 2013|newspaper=ESO Press Release}}</ref>
thumb|<center>Tiny planetary nebula NGC 6886.</center>
<center>This gorgeous image resembles an inky patch of space that has been smudged by a giant celestial thumbprint</center>.<ref>{{cite web|title=Not a Planet|url=https://noirlab.edu/public/images/iotw2113a/|access-date=April 9, 2021}}</ref>
<center>The planetary nebula Sh2-42 in the constellation Sagittarius</center><ref>{{cite web|title=A Giant's Funeral Pyre|url=https://noirlab.edu/public/images/iotw2121a/|access-date=June 17, 2021}}</ref>

Using a prism to disperse their light, William Huggins was one of the earliest astronomers to study the optical spectra of astronomical objects.


Increase in the wavelength, and corresponding decrease in the frequency and photon energy, of electromagnetic radiation .

Absorption lines in the visible spectrum of a supercluster of distant galaxies (right), as compared to absorption lines in the visible spectrum of the Sun (left). Arrows indicate redshift. Wavelength increases up towards the red and beyond (frequency decreases).
High-redshift galaxy candidates in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2012
Doppler redshift and blueshift
Doppler effect, yellow (~575 nm wavelength) ball appears greenish (blueshift to ~565 nm wavelength) approaching observer, turns orange (redshift to ~585 nm wavelength) as it passes, and returns to yellow when motion stops. To observe such a change in color, the object would have to be traveling at approximately 5,200 km/s, or about 75 times faster than the speed record for the fastest man-made space probe.
Rendering of the 2dFGRS data
Matter waves (protons, electrons, photons, etc.) falling into a gravity well become more energetic and undergo observer-independent blueshifting.

In 1868, British astronomer William Huggins was the first to determine the velocity of a star moving away from the Earth by this method.


Distinct body of interstellar clouds (which can consist of cosmic dust, hydrogen, helium, molecular clouds; possibly as ionized gases).

The "Pillars of Creation" from the Eagle Nebula. Evidence from the Spitzer Space Telescope suggests that the pillars may already have been destroyed by a supernova explosion, but the light showing us the destruction will not reach the Earth for another millennium.
Portion of the Carina Nebula
NGC 604, a nebula in the Triangulum Galaxy
The Carina Nebula is an example of a diffuse nebula
The Oyster Nebula is a planetary nebula located in the constellation of Camelopardalis
The Westbrook Nebula is an example of a protoplanetary nebula located in the constellation of Auriga
The Crab Nebula, an example of a supernova remnant
Close up on the Orion Arm, with major stellar associations (yellow), nebulae (red) and dark nebulae (grey) around the Local Bubble.
Herbig–Haro HH 161 and HH 164.<ref>{{cite news|title=A stellar sneezing fit|url=http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1350a/|access-date=16 December 2013|newspaper=ESA/Hubble Picture of the Week}}</ref>
The Omega Nebula, an example of an emission nebula
The Horsehead Nebula, an example of a dark nebula.
The Cat's Eye Nebula, an example of a planetary nebula.
The Red Rectangle Nebula, an example of a protoplanetary nebula.
The delicate shell of SNR B0509-67.5
Tycho Supernova remnant in X-ray light

Beginning in 1864, William Huggins examined the spectra of about 70 nebulae.


Brightest star in the night sky.

Hubble Space Telescope image of Sirius A and Sirius B. The white dwarf can be seen to the lower left. The diffraction spikes and concentric rings are instrumental effects.
Sirius (bottom) and the constellation Orion (right). The three brightest stars in this image—Sirius, Betelgeuse (top right) and Procyon (top left)—form the Winter Triangle. The bright star at top center is Alhena, which forms a cross-shaped asterism with the Winter Triangle.
The orbit of Sirius B around A as seen from Earth (slanted ellipse). The wide horizontal ellipse shows the true shape of the orbit (with an arbitrary orientation) as it would appear if viewed straight on.
A Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the Sirius star system, where the spike-like pattern is due to the support structure for the transmission grating. The bright source is Sirius B. Credit: NASA/SAO/CXC
Comparison of Sirius A and the Sun, to scale and relative surface brightness
Size comparison of Sirius B and Earth
A bust of Sopdet, Egyptian goddess of Sirius and the fertility of the Nile, syncretized with Isis and Demeter
Sirius midnight culmination at New Year 2022 local solar time
Yoonir, symbol of the universe in Serer religion

Sir William Huggins examined the spectrum of the star and observed a red shift.

Bruce Medal

Awarded every year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for outstanding lifetime contributions to astronomy.

The old ASP's logo design until it was updated in 2019

1904 – William Huggins

Orion Nebula

Diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, being south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion.

The entire Orion Nebula in a composite image of visible light and infrared; taken by Hubble Space Telescope in 2006
The constellation of Orion with the Orion Nebula (lower middle)
Messier's drawing of the Orion Nebula in his 1771 memoir, Mémoires de l'Académie Royale
Henry Draper's 1880 photograph of the Orion Nebula, the first ever taken.
One of Andrew Ainslie Common's 1883 photographs of the Orion Nebula, the first to show that a long exposure could record new stars and nebulae invisible to the human eye.
A starchart of the Orion Nebula.
Optical images reveal clouds of gas and dust in the Orion Nebula; an infrared image (right) reveals the new stars shining within.
Orion A molecular cloud from VISTA reveals many young stars and other objects.
View of several proplyds within the Orion Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope
Star Formation Fireworks in Orion
View of the ripples (Kelvin–Helmholtz instability) formed by the action of stellar winds on the cloud.
Panoramic image of the center of the nebula, taken by the Hubble Telescope. This view is about 2.5 light years across. The Trapezium is at center left.

In 1865 English amateur astronomer William Huggins used his visual spectroscopy method to examine the nebula showing it, like other nebulae he had examined, was made up of "luminous gas".

Golders Green Crematorium

The first crematorium to be opened in London, and one of the oldest crematoria in Britain.

The Bedford Chapel at Golders Green Crematorium
The Bedford Chapel at Golders Green Crematorium
Horder Japanese Garden Pond
Interior of the columbarium
Into the Silent Land by Henry Alfred Pegram
The Freud Corner at Golders Green Crematorium

Lady Margaret Huggins and her husband Sir William Huggins, astronomers