Lindblad, Bertil (1895–1965)
Swedish astronomer who was the first to propose the rotation of the Galaxy.
He graduated from the University of Uppsala and spent nearly all his career
at the Stockholm Observatory, of which he was director from 1927 to 1965.
Having considered Jacobus Kapteyn's work
on moving stellar streams and Howard Shapley's
proposal that the center of the Milky Way Galaxy lay tens of thousands of
light-years away, he put forward the differential
rotation theory – namely, that the speed of rotation of stars
about the galactic center depends on their distance. Soon after, in 1927,
Jan Oort's observations of stellar motion provided
support for Lindblad's views, which inspired a number of Swedish astronomers,
including Lindblad's son, Per Olaf (1927–), to specialize in the movements
of stars. Lindblad also helped demonstrate the spiral nature of the Galaxy
and, in the 1940s, put forward the density
wave theory to explain spiral structure.