Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Sanford, Roscoe Frank

Reference work entry

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...

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Selected References

  1. Anon. (1958). “R. F. Sanford Dies.” Sky & Telescope 17, no. 8: 406.Google Scholar
  2. Osterbrock, Donald E., John R. Gustafson, and W. J. Shiloh Unruh (1988). Eye on the Sky: Lick Observatory’s First Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 189–190.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvine School of Physical SciencesIrvineUSA