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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.

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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

 

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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The Science of Henrietta Swan Leavitt

<p>This collection explores the discoveries and methods of American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt.  She worked at the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) as a “computer”, examining glass photographic plates in order to measure and catalog the brightness of stars. This work led her to discover the relationship between the luminosity (brightness) and the period of brightening/dimming of Cepheid variables (stars that have a distinct brightness and dimming period). Her discovery provided astronomers with the first “standard candle” with which to measure the distance to faraway galaxies and paved the way for modern astronomy's understanding of the structure and size of the universe.  <br><br>Follow the steps throughout the collection to determine the ways that  Leavitt and the other Harvard Computers identified variable stars. In these resources, you'll find images of glass plate photographs that the Computers used for their calculations, as well as videos, quiz questions, and images of Henrietta Leavitt. For more information about Leavitt's life, view the information tab on the first three resources. <br></p> <p></p> <p>For more web resources, check out our other collection: <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/qqXikk5s1yijR91U#r/21038">Henrietta Swan Leavitt Web Resources</a>. </p> <p></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></p>
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