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The Role of Women in Astronomy Right Here in Huntsville.

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Presentation on theme: "The Role of Women in Astronomy Right Here in Huntsville."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Role of Women in Astronomy

3 Right Here in Huntsville

4 Aganice of Thessaly Greece, 2 nd c BCE Mentioned in writing of Plutarch, Appolonius of Rhodes Sorceress: could make the moon disappear from the sky

5 Hypatia of Alexandria ~355 – 415 CE Mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. Father Theon: last director of “Museum of Alexandria”

6 Hypatia of Alexandria Mathematical writings included commentary on the works of Diophantes (father of Algebra) Probably invented the astrolabe Planisphere Navigational

7 Hypatia’s famous student Synesius of Cyrene (Bishop of Ptolemais)

8 Caroline Herschel Germany, 1750-1848 Left behind: Cinderella Famous brother William

9 Caroline Herschel Brother, Freidrich Wilhelm, later known as William brought her to England and trained her as his assistant. Helped her brother with the discovery of Uranus

10 Caroline Herschel Became famous in her own right too as an astronomer (and opera singer!) In 1786, discovered the first of many comets (known as Herschel’s Comet), and 3 nebulae prior to that Was William’s official paid assistant by King George III

11 Harvard “Computers” Harvard College Observatory, founded 1839 1877: Pickering’ s housekeeper better at math...

12 Harvard “Computers” Paid $0.25/hour! Included some famous names: Henrietta Leavitt Annie Jump Cannon

13 Henrietta Leavitt Research assistant at Harvard College Observatory.Devised a system, using “the north polar sequence” as a gage of brightness for stars Cepheid variables in SMC – period-luminosity relationship of these variables, Determine distances of stars Ejnar Hertzsprung used her discovery to plot the distance of stars; Harlow Shapley used it to measure the size of the Milky Way; and Edwin Hubble used her work to ascertain the age of the Universe.

14 Annie Jump Cannon Deaf due to scarlet fever Classified stars according to their spectra from coolest to warmest Invented/refined Harvard Spectral Classification System: OBAFGKM

15 Jocelyn Bell-Burnell 1967: radio pulses = “LGM-1” Turned out to not be aliens! Rather, pulsars - jets from accreting material on neutron stars!

16 “A woman’s place is in the dome” – Marylou West

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