Spectrum scanner, used at Mt Stromlo Observatory by Dr Alex Rodgers, wood/glass/metal, Australia, 1964-1965
Dr. Alex Rodgers, and the other staff members that used this new instrument, produced unique findings that further established Mount Stromlo's credentials in the emerging field of automatic photoelectric scanning.
Mount Stromlo's first Director, Walter Duffield's, prime interest was spectroscopy and for this reason it remained a cornerstone of research at Mount Stromlo from its earliest years. In 1957 a new Director, Bart Jan Bok, was appointed and between then and 1966 the Observatory underwent a period of expansion.
In 1960 Bok invited Lawrence Aller, a pioneer in the field of photo electric scanning, to set up a photoelectric spectrograph on the 'Great Melbourne' telescope which had been modified into a 127 cm (50-inch) telescope. Aller arrived in 1960 bringing with him one of the first ever scanners, the single tube 'Michigan scanner'.
By 1963 Alex Rodgers, was at Mount Stromlo working with Dr. Searle and Mr. M. Bessell, in this new field. And in 1964 a two-channel version was commissioned to help them study a number of variable stars and produce measurements of ? Carinae. One result of this intense interest was Rodgers involvement in the construction of this second automatic photoelectric scanner (89/1364).
Rodgers spent all his working life at Mt Stromlo, even becoming director from 1986 -1992 and for all these reasons this instrument remains of national significance for the history of science in Australia.
Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, January 2010
Aller L., 'Photoelectric Spectroscopy of n Carinae', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 55, No. 4, 1966
Aller L. H., Faulkner D. J., Norton R. H., Photoelectric Spectrophotometry of Selected Southern Stars, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, November 1965
Bok, B. J., Mount Stromlo Observatory of the Australian National University; Report for the year ending 1965, December 31, 1965
Frame T., Faulkner D., Stromlo; an Australian observatory, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, Australia, 2003
Haynes R., Haynes R., Malin D., McGee R., Explorers of the Southern Sky; a history of Australian astronomy, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1996
Liller W., Aller L., 'Photoelectric Spectrophotometry', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 49, No. 5, 1963