By Poisson E.
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Extra info for An advanced course in general relativity
The question is very important for all investigations of a general nature. The nebulae are so numerous that they cannot all be studied individually. Therefore, it is necessary to know whether a fair sample can be assembled from the more conspicuous objects and, if so, the size of the sample is The answer to this question, and to in the classification of nebulae. sought required. The problem many others, a photographic one, for the details are extremely difficult to see. Visual observations, even with the largest telescopes, are less satisfactory than photographs made with moderate-size cameras.
Although the distance of the moon was well known to the Greeks, the order of the distance of the sun and the scale of planetary distances was not established until the latter part of the seventeenth century. Distances of stars were first determined almost exactly a century ago, and distances of nebulae, in our own generation. The distances were the essential data. Until they were found, no progress was possible. The early explorations halted at the edge of the solar system, facing a great void that stretched away to the nearer stars.
Nevertheless, it is possible, by statistical analysis of the shapes of many projected whose polar axes happen images (assuming random orientation), to investigate the existence and the relative frequencies of the various true forms, without knowing those of individual objects. The analysis indicates that the true forms do range from globular to lenticular and that the latter are more frequent than the former. Under these circumstances, a provisional classification has been based on the contours of projected images.
An advanced course in general relativity by Poisson E.