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Kevin Schindler: Expanding Universe Conference (http://www.lowell.edu/workshops/slipher)

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Published on Sep 19, 2012

Title: Serendipity and the Acquisition of the Lowell Spectrograph

Abstract: In 1900 Lowell Observatory assistant Andrew Douglass advised his boss Percival Lowell to purchase a state-of-the-art spectrograph from instrument maker and
recent Allegheny Observatory acting-director, “Uncle John” Brashear. While the
instrument was initially intended to meet multiple scientific goals of the
Observatory, particularly regarding the study of planetary atmospheres and the
rotation periods of planets, it also fulfilled a little-known obligation between
Percival Lowell and Brashear that dated back to an accident occurring several
years before. If not for this unusual incident that led to the purchase of the
spectrograph, the future of Lowell Observatory and, on a larger scale, unmasking
of the nature of the expanding universe, would likely have played out much
differently.

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