Sanford, Roscoe Frank
BornFaribault, Minnesota, USA, 6 October 1883
DiedPasadena, California, USA, 4 April 1958
American observational astronomer Roscoe Sanford was a firm, early supporter of the idea of “island universes” or spiral nebulae as independent stellar systems outside the Milky Way, based on data he had collected concerning their apparent sizes, brightnesses, and locations relative to the galactic plane.
Sanford received an A. B. from the University of Minnesota in 1905 and, after a year of high school teaching in Minnesota, came to Lick Observatory as an assistant to Richard H. Tucker. From 1908 to 1915, he was with Lick expeditions at San Luis, Argentina, determining positions of southern stars, and at Santiago, Chile, measuring radial velocities. Sanford returned to Lick in 1915 and completed a Ph. D. dissertation in 1917, working with Heber Curtis. The thesis used images of spiral nebulae, plus the idea (established in the earlier thesis of Edward Fath) that their spectra resemble spectra...