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C.O. Lampland Papers, 1894-1951.


Creator: Lampland, Carl Otto, 1873-1951
Title: C.O. Lampland Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1894/1951
Quantity: 20 Linear Ft.
Abstract:The collection contains the published papers, research notes, diaries, and correspondence of C.O. Lampland, who worked as an astronomer at Lowell Observatory for nearly 50 years.
Identification: MS.4
Language: English
Repository: Lowell Observatory
1400 West Mars Hill Road
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(928) 714-7083

Biographical Note

Carl Otto Lampland was born near Hayfield, Minnesota on December 29, 1873. He was educated first at Valparaiso Normal school in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he earned a B.S. degree in 1899. He then studied at Indiana University, where he received a B.A. degree in astronomy in 1902, an M.A. in 1906, and an honorary LL.D in 1930. Lampland began work at Lowell Observatory in 1902. His primary function at Lowell was to design cameras to be used on the various telescopes. He won the British Royal Photographic Society Medal in 1905 for the camera which he designed for the 24-inch Clark telescope. In addition to his photography, Lampland also helped to design and maintain a number of telescopes during his career. For example, he frequently resilvered the mirror of the 40-inch telescope. In conjunction with W.W. Coblentz of the U.S. Bureau of Standards, Lampland also measured the temperatures of the planets using thermocouples which he constructed.

In the early part of his career at Lowell, Lampland was closely involved with Percival Lowell in planetary observation. He began observing Mars in 1903 and photographed its "canals" in 1905. He also began the first photographic search for Percival Lowell's postulated Planet X in 1905. He was among the observers who finally saw Planet X, now known as Pluto, in 1930. When Lowell added the 42-inch reflecting telescope in 1909, Lampland became the primary observer on this instrument until his death in 1951. He photographed many objects during his years at Lowell, creating over 10,000 images of planets, comets, variable stars, nebulae and star clusters. He also photographed the solar eclipse of 1918 from Syracuse, Kansas.

Lampland seems to have been very interested in automobiles during his time at Lowell Observatory - he spoke frequently of driving either his or Percival Lowell's car, of going on car trips, or of repairing the Observatory's cars. He also amassed an impressive collection of books which still reside at the Observatory. Lampland died of a stroke on December 14, 1951 in Flagstaff.

Scope and Content

The C.O. Lampland Papers provide insight into the research that was taking place at Lowell Observatory during the first half of the twentieth century, including important activities such as the search for Planet X, planetary observations, and instrument design. They contain publications, research notes, correspondence, and diaries from Lampland's long career at Lowell Observatory. Major areas of focus include stars, nebulae, planets, scientific instruments, and asteroids. The collection is divided into four series: Manuscripts, Working Papers, Correspondence, and Diaries. The Manuscripts series contains papers written from Lampland's research, many of which were published. The Working Papers series includes original research notes on planets, comets, asteroids, nebulae, stars, novae, star clusters, and scientific instruments. The Correspondence series consists of letters between Lampland and colleagues, friends, family, and businesses. The Diaries series contains Lampland's original diaries and a summary of them written by Lowell Observatory astronomer Henry Giclas.


Conditions Governing Access

Please contact the archives to make an appointment before visiting the institution.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished and published manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Other information

For further description visit: Lowell Observatory Library and Archives Homepage

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

C.O. Lampland Papers, Lowell Observatory Archives

Container List

Series 1) Manuscripts, 1904-1951.
11-14 Nebulae, eclipses, novae, stars, asteroids, 1904-1929.
1 Large1-3 Planets, stars, Comet Halley, 1910-1929.
21-17 Mars, Pluto, planetary radiation, asteroids, nebulae, 1921-1951.
31-36 Mars, nebulae, planetary radiation, asteroids, comets, Pluto, 1908-1948.
Series 2) Working Papers, 1894-1951.
11-12 Solar system and Planet X search, 1907-1934.
21-11 Solar system, radiometry, 1907-1941.
31-14 Planets (mostly Mars), radiometry, 1904-1941.
41-24 Radiometry, stars and star clusters, novae, diffuse nebulae, 1910-1932.
51-8A Diffuse nebulae, spiral nebulae, aurorae, 1916-1939.
61-17 Nebulae, instruments, general astronomy, 1916-1936.
71-7 College notes, 1900-1905.
81-8 Search for Planet X, 1911-1929.
91-10 Pluto calculations, 1930-1951.
101-12 Pluto calculations, 1930-1932.
111-6 Pluto calculations, 1930-1951.
121-9 Pluto calculations, 1930-1940.
131-30 Stars, nebulae, planets, instruments, photometry, 1896-1947.
141-22 Instruments, photometry, Pluto, Nova Persei, Mars, 1897-1946.
151-7 Notes for Mars book that Lampland planned to write with E.C. and V.M. Slipher, Lowell Observatory history, 1894-1932.
161-3 Approximate positions of asteroids, 1932-1933.
Series 3) Correspondence, 1903-1951.
1-21 Abbot-Zwicky, 1903-1951.
Series 4) Diaries, 1903-1949.
11 A Brief of the Carl O. Lampland Diaries, by Henry L. Giclas, 1903-1949.
Summary of Lampland's diaries, written in 1982-1983.
2 and 3 Carl O. Lampland Diaries, 1903-1949.