BornOmaha, Nebraska, USA, 20 July 1878
DiedPalo Alto, California, USA, 16 March 1966
American photometrist Joel Stebbins was an innovator in the use of photoelectric photometry, and in 1915 applied these techniques to measure the first light curve of an eclipsing binary from which the distance to the system could be determined. He also used photoelectric photometry to make the first quantitative measurement of night-sky brightness caused by urban light pollution and to look for evidence that galaxies had changed their colors with the evolution of the Universe.
The son of Charles Sumner and Sara Ann (néeStubbs) Stebbins, Joel developed an early interest in astronomy. His first jobs (apart from newspaper delivery boy) included part-time surveying work for the Union Pacific Railroad, which employed his father. His marriage in 1905 produced two children, but the family member to whom he was closest seems to have been his sister Millicent, who sometimes made Wisconsin-California summer...
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