A Very Short List of Wimin in Astronomy


Caroline Herschel

Born in 1750 in Hanover, Germany. Caroline help her brother William Herschel who discovered the planet Uranus. Caroline took notes while William used his telescopes. She also helped him to make telescopes. She discovered eight comets. Caroline Herschel published a revision of an astronomical catalog known as Flamsted. After William's death Caroline made a list of 2,500 nebulae her brother studied.

Maria Mitchell

Born in 1818 on Nantucket Island. Maria studied astronomy with her father who was an amateur astronomer. In 1847, Maria discovered a comet. She became very famous and traveled around the world. She became one of the first teachers at Vassar College for women. She was the director of the astronomy department and the observatory director.

Annie Jump Cannon

Born in 1863 in Delaware, Annie Cannon studied the spectrum of stars. The stellar spectrum Her studies of stellar spectra lead to the modern theories of Spectral Classification. She studied nearly 400,000 stellar spectra. She discovered 300 variable stars and five novae.

Henrietta Leavitte

Born in 1868, Henrietta studied at Oberlin College. Miss Leavitte worked on Variable Stars called "Cepheids" in the closest galaxies to the Milky Way. These stars brightness varies over a certain period which Henrietta discovered was linked. This relationship allows astronomers to determine Cosmic Distances for objects in the universe. Her work helped astronomers discover the size of Milky Way galaxy.

Cecilia Payne Gaposckin

Born in 1900 in England. Cecilia came to the Harvard Observatory to do research in astronomy. She became a member of the observatory staff and spent the rest of her career there. She learned that there is more hydrogen in the universe than any other element. She also studied the distant stars. She was the editor of the Harvard College newsletter for many years and wrote many other papers with other astronomers. She became the first woman to become a full professor at Harvard College.

E. Margaret Burbidge

Born in 1922 in England. Margaret worked with other astronomers to develope theories of what happens inside stars. She studies distant galaxies outside of our own Milky Way. She is a professor at the University of California. She was the first women, as well as the first civilian to direct the Observatory at Greenwich.


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