Huggins, William (1824–1910)
In announcing his and Miller's first spectroscopic results, in 1864, Huggins expressed the view that their discoveries provided:
... an experimental basis on which a conclusion, hitherto but a pure speculation, may rest – viz. that at least the brighter stars are, like our sun, upholding and energising centres of systems of worlds adapted to the abode of living beings.While this was an overstatement, encouraged by theological belief, stellar spectroscopy would come to play an increasingly prominent role in the debate over the existence of habitable extrasolar planets, as would Huggins's discovery that some nebulas were composed of gas rather than stars and his early investigations of the nature of planetary atmospheres. In 1865, he established that the Moon possessed, at best, a negligible atmosphere by observing the spectrum of a star while it underwent an occultation by the Moon and noting that light of all wavelengths was cut off simultaneously.
Related category• ASTRONOMERS AND ASTROPHYSICISTS
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