Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Mieography

This is Annie. The next time you look up at the stars in the sky, think of her.

Annie Jump Cannon was born in 1863, the daughter of a shipbuilder/state senator, and his second wife. Her mother had an avid interest in star-gazing, and she passed this interest on to her daughter.
Annie spent her early school ears at the Wilmington Conference Acadamy, where she excelled in Mathematics. In 1880 she was sent to Wellesley College, in Massachusettes. She was stricken with many repeated infections, among them scarlet fever. As a result, she was rendered almost completely deaf.
In 1884 she graduated with a degree in physics. She returned home, where she grew bored and restless, because socializing when one was almost completely deaf made life difficult. To confound things, she was also older, and better educated than most of the unmarried women in her area. She went to Europe in 1892 to photograph the solar eclipse, and returned without much of a social improvement. In 1893, her mother died. Life at home got even more difficult. Finally, she wrote a letter to one of her former instructors at Wellesley, Sarah Frances Whiting, to see if there was a job opening. Happily, there was, as an assistant to Ms. Whiting, who was the professor of Physics and Astronomy Working at Wellesley allowed her to to take graduate courses at the college. While she was there she studied the advanced fields of astronomy for that time, spectroscopy. She also studied photography. She later moved on to Radcliffe, the women's college at Harvard. By 1907 she had a masters in astronomy.
In 1894, however, she became a member of "Pickering's women", a group of women hired by Harvard Observatory director Edward Pickering to complete the Draper Catalog, which mapped and defined all the stars in the sky. She completed the largest part of the cataloge, nearly 230,000 stars. She made 25 cents a day doing this. Secretaries made more than she did.
She also published many other catalogues of variable stars, including 300 more that she discovered. Her carreer lasted more than 40 years.
She died April of 1941. Among the honors she has received are:
an honerary doctorate from Oxford University in England, in 1925. She was the first woman recepient
In 1929 she was voted the as one of the National League of Women Voters 12 greatest living American Women.
1931 she was awarded the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. (She had to share this award with a male co worker, however)
The Cannon Crater on the Moon is named after her.
She is nicknamed "Census Taker of the Sky", for classifying all the stellar bodies she did, more than any other person has, male, or female....


Daryl said...

What amazing acomplishments ... seems as if she didnt need a partner (of either gender) to make her complete or successful.. a great role model... :-Daryl

sybil law said...

Man! .25?! Yeesh.
Still - very cool...

holly said...

that was TOTALLy awesome. i love astronomy!