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Paper: The Road to Radial Velocities: V. M. Slipher and Mastery of the Spectrograph
Volume: 471, Origins of the Expanding Universe: 1912-1932
Page: 143
Authors: Smith, R. W.
Abstract: V. M. Slipher's observations of the radial velocities of spiral nebulae were extremely important for the disputes on the nature of the spirals that sprang up in the 1910s and in time the debates around the theory of the expanding universe. Such linkages, however, were far from Slipher's thoughts when he embarked on these researches. I instead argue that the key contexts for understanding the development of Slipher's studies were very much to do with his position as a Lowell Observatory astronomer and the demands of Percival Lowell (which were in turn driven by Lowell's views on extraterrestrial life), as well as Slipher's mastery of the Brashear spectrograph Lowell had acquired in 1901. I also examine the shifting interpretations Slipher offered of his findings as well as their reception.
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