The First Infrared Observation of a Comet

Another Unsung Lowell Observatory Achievement

J. N. Marcus

Open access to 818,316 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics
(Submitted on 30 Jan 2013)

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.

Refereed contribution to the proceedings of “Origins of the Expanding Universe: 1912-1932”, M. J. Way & D. Hunter, eds., ASP Conf. Ser., Vol. 471 in press. A meeting held in September 2012 to mark the Centenary of Slipher’s first measurement of the radial velocity of M31Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite??as:arXiv:1301.7269 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1301.7269v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Deidre A. Hunter [view email]
[v1] Wed, 30 Jan 2013 16:02:43 GMT (656kb)

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