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Project PHaEDRA

Wolbach Library
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)
Science, Social Studies, Visual Arts, Arts
Smithsonian Staff
Wolbach Library

Project PHaEDRA is an initiative by the Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in collaboration with many partners, to catalog, digitize, transcribe, and enrich the metadata of over 2500 logbooks and notebooks produced by the Harvard Computers and early Harvard astronomers. Our goal is to ensure that this remarkable set of items, created by a remarkable group of people, is as accessible and useful as possible.


Questions about our collections? Feedback about educational materials? Email: samantha.correia@cfa.harvard.edu

Materials Compiled by: Sam Correia and Peggy Wargelin


Project PHaEDRA's collections

 

Astronomical Observational Images: The Naked Eye through Current Observations

<p>Humans' view of the universe has changed as our observational tools have changed.  Noticing that groups of stars travel in constellations, some stars appear only during certain seasons, and the Pole Star always points North in the northern hemisphere was possible with the naked eye. Through gradually improving telescopes and lenses, observers made drawings of what they saw until photography through telescopes made it possible to collect light over a long period and thus see stars invisible to the naked eye. Ever greater magnification and new instruments let scientists see that not all objects in the sky were stars - some were clouds of gas and "smeared out" objects which turned out to be other galaxies. Today we collect unprecedented imagery from spacecraft and earth-based telescopes in incredible resolution and varying wavelengths, allowing us an ever-better understanding of the universe around us.</p><p></p><p>These resources can be used to better understand the history of astronomy, as well as the different ways in which people have used art and science to make observations of the sky. </p> <p></p> <p>keywords: astronomy, astrophysics, Harvard Computers, women in STEM, art, technology, Project PHaEDRA, John G. Wolbach Library, Center for Astrophysics<br><br></p>
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Annie Jump Cannon: Biographical Digital Resources

<p><strong>In this collection, you will find links to resources about the astronomer Annie Jump Cannon. Annie Jump Cannon</strong> (December 11, 1863 – April 13, 1941) was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of star classification. Cannon worked at the Harvard College Observatory from 1896-1940. She attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she studied physics and astronomy. She became a computer at the Harvard College Observatory. She developed a star classification system that is still used today. According to her classification system, stars can be either O, B, A, F, G, K or M, with O being the hottest stars and M being the coolest. In 1911 she was named Curator of Astronomical Photographs at at the Harvard College Observatory. During her career, she had also discovered 300 variable stars, five new stars, and one spectroscopic binary. She was the first female recipient of an honorary doctorate from Oxford University.<br><br><br></p> <p>These online resources include biographies, videos, images, research, and articles. These resources can be used as an introduction into the life of Cannon and her work. We hope that these materials will paint a portrait of a woman who was instrumental to the field of astronomy. <br><br></p> <p></p> <p>Keywords:  Harvard Computers, astronomy, female astronomers, history of science, women in STEM, Project PHaEDRA, John G. Wolbach Library, Center for Astrophysics<br><br><br></p> <p></p>
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Henrietta Swan Leavitt Web Resources

<p>In this collection, you will find links to resources about the astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt. Leavitt was an American astronomer and graduate of Radcliffe College. She worked at the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) as a “computer”, examining glass photographic plates in order to measure and catalog the brightness, or magnitude, of stars. This work led her to discover the relation between the luminosity and the period of brightening/dimming of Cepheid variables. Leavitt’s discovery provided astronomers with the first “standard candle” with which to measure the distance to faraway galaxies.<br><br>These online resources include biographies, videos, images, research, and articles. These resources can be used as an introduction into the life of Leavitt and her work. </p> <p></p> <p></p> <p>Keywords: Harvard Computers, astronomy, women in STEM, Project PHaEDRA, John G. Wolbach Library, Center for Astrophysics<br><br></p> <p></p>
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