Thursday, October 14, 2010

RIP, John Huchra

John Huchra, a professor of cosmology at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the man who (with two women, Margaret Geller and Valerie de Lapparent) mapped the universe and turned conventional theory about galaxies on its head, died last Friday. His mapping of the Coma Supercluster was possibly the most famous map of the universe ever made, largely because it looked like the stick figure of a person. The supercluster was in the middle of a "Great Wall" of galaxies with a length of about six hundred million light years. It confirmed that the galaxies in the universe are arranged in sheets and walls surrounding large nearly-empty voids.

“His passing has upset more of us than I remember for any other astronomer,” said Tod Lauer, an astronomer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, in a New York Times obit.

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