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V. M. Slipher

AKA Vesto Melvin Slipher

Born: 11-Nov-1875
Birthplace: Mulberry, IN
Died: 8-Nov-1969
Location of death: Flagstaff, AZ
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Citizens Cemetery, Flagstaff, AZ

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Interstellar dust

Astronomer V. M. Slipher discovered the rotations of the spiral nebulae in 1913, the first substantial evidence of a perpetually expanding universe, and he was the first astronomer to measure the spirals' radial velocities. He discovered reflection nebulae, and demonstrated the existence of pulverulent matter, now called interstellar dust. He also discovered the presence of methane in Neptune's atmosphere, made spectrographs of the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, and oversaw the "Planet X" project, which culminated in the discovery of Pluto. Chronically shy, he rarely attended astronomers' gatherings, and instead had his papers read by others at such events. His brother, astronomer Earl Carl Slipher, was Mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona from 1918-20.

Father: Daniel Clark Slipher (farmer)
Mother: Hannah App Slipher (farmer)
Brother: Earl Carl Slipher (astronomer, b. 25-Mar-1883, d. 7-Aug-1964)
Wife: Emma Rosalie Munger Slipher (b. 1872, m. 1-Jan-1904, d. 1962, two children)
Son: David Clark Slipher (b. 1911, d. 2000)
Daughter: Marcia Frances Slipher Nicholson

    High School: Frankfort High School, Frankfort, IN (1894)
    University: BA Mechanics & Astronomy, Indiana University (1901)
    University: MA Astronomy, Indiana University (1903)
    University: PhD Astronomy, Indiana University (1909)
    Scholar: Lowell Observatory (1901-16)
    Administrator: Director, Lowell Observatory (1916-54)

    Bruce Medal 1935
    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1933
    Henry Draper Medal 1932
    Lalande Prize 1919
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    National Academy of Sciences
    National Research Council
    Lunar Crater Slipher
    Martian Crater Slipher (jointly named for Slipher and his brother)
    Asteroid Namesake 1766 Slipher (jointly named for Slipher and his brother)


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