Browse Exhibits (6 total)
The Lowell Observatory Archives houses the papers of nearly three dozen former employees and other individuals who had professional relationships with the observatory. For Women’s History Month, we are focusing on three women who are represented in our collections: Dr. Elizabeth Roemer, Wrexie Louise Leonard, and Elizabeth Langdon Williams. Correspondence, research notes, photographs, scrapbooks, drawings, and newspaper articles illustrate each woman’s career in the field of astronomy, and they also offer some glimpses into their personal lives.
For more information about women in astronomy, check out the following sites:
Carl Otto Lampland was an astronomer at Lowell Observatory from 1902 to 1951. This exhibit focuses on his research, other interests, and diaries.
This exhibit highlights the lives and careers of brothers and Lowell Observatory astronomers Vesto Melvin (V.M.) and Earl Carl (E.C.) Slipher. Both brothers were born in Mulberry, Indiana, and attended Indiana University. V.M. began working at Lowell in 1901 and E.C. followed in 1906. Each spent his entire professional career in Flagstaff and contributed to the observatory and local and state communities. In 1989, Trustee Bill Putnam rededicated Lowell's Administration Building as the Slipher Building in their honor.
Percival Lowell founded Lowell Observatory in 1894 for the primary purpose of studying Mars. In 1895, he commissioned Alvan Clark & Sons to build a 24-inch refracting telescope. Although the Clark Telescope was Lowell’s primary piece of equipment, the observatory continued to build telescopes and instrumentation that helped solidify its place as a pioneer in the field of astronomy. Astronomers have used the various equipment on Lowell Observatory’s Mars Hill campus to discover Pluto; identify the redshifts of galaxies; map the Moon for the Apollo missions; observe comets and asteroids; study solar variation; and take thousands of photographs of stars, planets, and nebulae. The original landscape of Lowell Observatory’s campus has evolved over the past 125 years and continues to do so, reflecting both its history and future as a center of research and education.
Dr. Elizabeth "Pat" Roemer was one of the most accomplished astronomers and comet researchers of the mid-twentieth century. She recovered over seventy comets in her lifetime, and at the age of twenty-one, she proved that Polaris, i.e. the North Star, is not the largest star. Dr. Roemer made important strides as an astronomer, but she also faced many challenges as a woman in a very male-dominated field. She was not taken seriously by many of her male colleagues and struggled to receive equal pay for the important work that she did. Despite these obstacles, Dr. Roemer was able to make a lasting legacy for herself as a comet expert, and is still highly regarded in the field of astronomy today.
"Elizabeth Roemer: Comet Notes" is both a celebration of a prolific comet expert and an inside look into the personal experiences of a female astronomer in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. This exhibit will highlight Dr. Roemer's contributions to astronomy, including her work on Polaris and the comets that she recovered. You will interact with photos, diary entries, mathematical computations, and many other artifacts from her life and career. As you follow Dr. Roemer's story, you will also learn about the process of comet recovery and how her work still contributes to the field in important ways.