|Another Unsung Lowell Observatory Achievement: The First Infrared Observation of a Comet
|471, Origins of the Expanding Universe: 1912-1932
|Marcus, J. N.
|Carl Lampland was the first to observe a comet in the infrared, a feat little
known today because he failed to formally publish his data. I have retrieved
the radiometry of this comet, C/1927 X1 (Skjellerup-Maristany), taken in broad
daylight, from Lampland's logbook in the Lowell Observatory archives, and
present a preliminary reduction of it here. There are similarities between
Lampland's pioneering achievement and V. M. Slipher's discovery of the redshifts
of the spiral nebulae (and thus, arguably, the expansion of the Universe). Each
astronomer used state-of-the-art instrumentation, received rave reviews at
American Astronomical Society meetings where their novel data were presented,
and suffered under-recognition in ensuing decades. A common thread in these
poor outcomes was their lackadaisical approach to formal publication — in
Slipher's case, publishing in internal or secondary outlets, and in Lampland's
case, not publishing at all.