Career at Lowell Observatory

V.M. Slipher spent the entirety of his fifty-three year career at Lowell Observatory, starting as an assistant astronomer at the age of twenty-five and culminating in the role of director.

Slipher was assigned to learn the use of a newly-acquired Brashear spectrograph shortly after arriving at Lowell, a difficult task for the young astronomer to master. Although his principal role at the observatory was the study of the solar system, he is best known for his study of the "spiral nebulae" (galaxies) leading to the theory of the expanding universe. 

In addition to his regular duties, Slipher was also responsible for the care of the observatory cow, Venus, and her offspring as well as acting as caretaker of the garden on the property when Percival Lowell was away. His upbringing on a farm was useful experience in this regard.