Lewis Morris Rutherfurd, American Astronomer

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Lewis Morris Rutherfurd, American Astronomer
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Image ID: HRNWB4
Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (November 25, 1816 - May 30, 1892) was an American lawyer and astronomer. He graduated from Williams College, Massachusetts in 1834, then practiced law after being admitted to the bar in 1837. He his law career in 1849 to dedicate his leisure to science, particularly astronomy. He performed pioneering work in spectral analysis, and experimented with celestial photography. He invented instruments for his studies, including the micrometer for measuring photographs, a machine for producing improved ruled diffraction gratings, and the first telescope designed specifically for astrophotography. Using his instrumentation, he produced a quality collection of photographs of the Sun, Moon, and planets, as well as star clusters and stars down to the fifth magnitude. In 1862 he began making spectroscopic studies using his new diffraction grating. He was one of the original members of the National Academy of Sciences created in 1863, and was an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society. He died in 1892 at the age of 75.