AS RECENTLY AS THE 1950's about all that observational cosmology had succeeded in establishing was that galaxies exist and the universe expands. But beginning in the 1960's a flood of new discoveries has enriched our picture of the universe and has begun to provide a basis on which to distinguish between competing cosmological models. There has been a 30‐year effort, now drawing to a close, to get precise measurements of two parameters that will provide a crucial test for cosmological models. The two key numbers are the rate of expansion (the Hubble constant H0) and the deceleration in the expansion (q0). The hope is that current research, by determining the extragalactic distance scale for nearby galaxies and searching for exceedingly distant clusters where the redshift is large, will measure both of these numbers to a precision of 15%.

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