Given very little theoretical work chief of the photographic photometry department cataloged variable stars the brightness that appears in predictable patterns died of cancer in 1921 at the age of 53 the asteroid 5383 leavitt and the crater leavitt on the moon are named after. Early life and education using cepheid variables henrietta swan leavitt was born on july 4, 1868, in lancaster, massachusetts. Datasets available include lcsh, bibframe, lc name authorities, lc classification, marc codes, premis vocabularies, iso language codes, and more. Henrietta leavitt and the measurement of the universe. Henrietta swan leavitt 18681921 discovered the first. Henrietta leavitt was born in cambridge, massachusetts, the daughter of a congregational minister. Henrietta swan leavitt, born july 4, 1868, lancaster, massachusetts, u. Henrietta swan leavitt july 4, 1868 december 12, 1921 is not a name thats. Henrietta swan leavitt and her contributions to astronomy prezi. You can surely think that isnt much related to today but they were other days, furthermore, public financing wasnt a thing yet so, only privates were the keys for such projects to work. Feb 05, 2014 early life and education using cepheid variables henrietta swan leavitt was born on july 4, 1868, in lancaster, massachusetts. Leavitt stacked two photographic plates of the small magellanic cloud taken on different nights on top of each other, and. She found that a certain type of star, the cepheid variable, pulses at a rate thats related to its brightness. In 1895 and 1896, henrietta swan leavitt and annie jump cannon came from these ranks before being employed at an hourly wage of 25 cents.
Figure 9a shows plate plate b20650 mapped to the night sky using modern astronomy software latest edit 42619, with stars from the tycho2 catalog 2000 marked. In the news radcliffe institute for advanced study at. Henrietta swan leavitt was a harvard computer one of several women in the early 1900s who studied photographic plates for fundamental properties of stars. A 125th anniversary worth noting posted in general observing and astronomy. In the late 19th and early 20th century, henrietta swan leavitt conducted research that led to two of the most surprising and important discoveries in the history of astrophysics. Henrietta swan leavitt worked at harvard university cataloging stars. She was fascinated by it, and after graduation she enrolled in a course to study the subject full time. Henrietta was the eldest of seven children, two of whom died as toddlers. Women were cheaper, more patient, and detailoriented. It may have been a sign that since henrietta swan leavitt was born on independence day of 1868, that she was destined for great things. She made one of the most important discoveries in the history of astronomy. July 4th is the 150th anniversary of the birthday of american astronomer henrietta swan leavitt. Henrietta swan leavitt was born in massachusetts in 1868 and entered radcliffe, then named the society for the collegiate instruction of women, at the age of 20.
It took seven years for director charles pickering to offer leavitt a salary 30 cents an hour and the radcliffe graduate eventually became the head of. Apr 03, 2018 henrietta swan leavitt at the inaugural edition of the universe in verse, artist ann hamilton brought leavitts legacy to life in her lovely reading of the the habits of light from aperture public library a collection of poems by anna leahy, celebrating science and many of its unsung heroines. This work led her to discover the relation between the luminosity and the period of cepheid variables. By discovering the distance key, henrietta swan leavitt made possible all of the subsequent discoveries in astronomy of the 19th and 20th centuries. Henrietta swan leavitt measured the positions and brightnesses of stars in the magellanic clouds as recorded in the photographic plates. The rigorous education she received, spanning from classical greek to fine arts and philosophy, to analytical geometry and differential calculus, would have been sufficient to lead to. Henrietta leavitt e le variabili cefeidi antares notizie. I was reading up on henrietta swan leavitt on wiki and noticed something in the pic of pickerings crew of women computers here.
Henrietta leavitt calibrates the stars astronomy picture of. Henrietta swan leavitt in 1895, henrietta swan leavitt volunteered to work at the harvard college observatory. Her mother was henrietta swan kendrick and her father, george roswell leavitt was a minister at the congregational church in cambridge, massachusetts. Cepheid variables are definitely a gift to astronomers. Henrietta swan leavitt, in her office at the harvard college observatory. She changed the world but paid the price adsense while edwin hubble may have garnered all the plaudits for discovering other galaxies, the true genius that did all the work is often forgotten. How henrietta swan leavitt helped build a yardstick to measure. Annie jump cannon 18631941 devised the basic method for classifying the stars. Today, the hco is home to more than 500,000 glass astronomical plates, the largest collection in the world. Henrietta swan leavitt was the first to notice that cepheids that took longer to go from their brightest to their dimmest and.
Henrietta swan leavitt, american astronomer known for her discovery of the relationship between period and luminosity in cepheid variables, pulsating stars that vary regularly in brightness in periods ranging from a few days to several months. Henrietta swan leavitt learned that these variable stars pulsate with a stable period and amplitude. But his is also a timeline of scientists and scientific discoveries that enlarged our understanding of. July 4, 1868 december 12, 1921 was an american astronomer. Previously, astronomers could only measure distances up to 100 light years, but her work extended that to 10 million light years. Women in astronomy history part 1 henrietta swan leavitt. Henrietta swan leavitt was born on july 4, 1868, and she changed the course of astronomy when she was just twentyfive years old. Since her father was a congregational minister, the family moved frequently. Henrietta leavitt, how she loved the clouds inside adams.
Henrietta swan leavitt made a discovery that forever changed how. One century ago, in 1912, an astronomer named henrietta swan leavitt made a discovery that was to become one of the. If you enlarge the image to the max, on the wall above henrietta swan leavitts head, top left, is the light curve of beta aurigae, dated dec 1889. The linked data service provides access to commonly found standards and vocabularies promulgated by the library of congress.
Leavitt is best known for discovering about 2,400 variable stars between 1907 and 1921 when she died. Henrietta leavitt 150th anniversary bellaonline forums. Nov, 2016 henrietta swan leavitt, in her office at the harvard college observatory. Through her work, astronomers have come to understand how to use. Pickering periods of 25 variable stars in the small magellanic cloud harvard college observatory circular, vol. One of the outstanding astronomers of the early twentieth century was henrietta leavitt 1868 1921. Henrietta swan leavitt july 4, 1868december 12, 1921 is not a name thats familiar to most people.
Henrietta swan leavitt born on july 4th, 1868 in lancaster, massachusetts, henrietta swan leavitts independence day birthday could be considered a foreshadowing of her breaking the. Henrietta spent years measuring star positions and sizes from photographs taken by the telescope at the harvard college observatory, where she worked. But his is also a timeline of scientists and scientific discoveries that enlarged our understanding of the world. Celebrate researcher henrietta swan leavitts 150th. Punished because of her sex, henrietta swan leavitts work has changed the nature of astronomy forever. Henrietta leavitt is an example of the ongoing denial and lack of the professional and public recognition that henrietta leavitt suffers from, despite her landmark. Giveaway win a celestron 114lcm computerized newtonian. Henrietta swan leavitt, who lived from 1868 to 1921, worked as one of the harvard computers, a group of women scientists and technicians who worked in the harvard observatory from about 18801920. In 1893, she began work as a volunteer at harvard college observatory, collecting and analyzing data on the position, brightness, and color of stars. Jul 04, 2018 on this independence day a century and a half ago, henrietta swan leavitt was born. Henrietta swan leavitt worked on developing a way to measure the distance to stars. Henrietta leavitt focused her curiosity on the stars in the sky. The purpose of this article is not only to celebrate the centenary of leavitts discovery, but in a humble way to help draw wider attention to a largely, and unjustly, unsung pioneer of modern astronomy. Henrietta leavitt isnt a well known name, but a century ago she made one of the most important discoveries of 20th century astronomy.
The exhibit was inspired by henrietta swan leavitt, one of the computers on pickerings team. Henrietta swan leavitt born on independence day a century and a half ago conducted research that led to two of the most surprising and important discoveries in the history of astrophysics while working at harvard college observatory in cambridge, now part of the harvardsmithsonian center for astrophysics cfa. Henrietta swan leavitt was an american astronomer and graduate of radcliffe college, who worked as a computer at the harvard college observatory hco. Leavitt, henrietta swan henrietta swan leavitt was an american astronomer and graduate of radcliffe college, who worked as a computer at the harvard college observatory hco, where she examined glass photographic plates and measured the brightness, or magnitude, of stars. They are a class of variable stars that are useful as distance indicators objects that can help us measure distances because we know what their brightness ought to be if they were say 10 parsecs away from us. Bill bryson, a short history of nearly everything 2003 as a senior in 1892 leavitt was introduced to astronomy. Jul 05, 2018 henrietta swan leavitt born on independence day a century and a half ago conducted research that led to two of the most surprising and important discoveries in the history of astrophysics while working at harvard college observatory in cambridge, now part of the harvardsmithsonian center for astrophysics cfa. Mar 08, 2019 leavitts job was to analyse the many photographic plates. Leavitt, henrietta swan, 18681921 lc linked data service. Nov 12, 2016 henrietta swan leavitt was a harvard computer one of several women in the early 1900s who studied photographic plates for fundamental properties of stars.
Henrietta leavitt discovers the distance key everyday. Leavitt performed meticulous analysis of pulsating stars called cepheid variables. Henrietta swan leavitt an early variable star astronomer. On this independence day a century and a half ago, henrietta swan leavitt was born. Resonance june 2001 within the next 5 years, harlow shapley applied this relation to cepheids in globular clusters, and with the calculated distances he could produce the first map of the milky way. Neil shubin describes the universe within as a timeline covering great events and processes of the history of the cosmos, the planet and life on earth.
Previously, astronomers could only measure distances up to 100 light years, but her work extended that to 10. B research and describe the contributions of scientists to our changing understanding of astronomy, including ptolemy, copernicus, tycho brahe, kepler, galileo, newton, einstein, and hubble, and the contribution of women astronomers, including maria mitchell and henrietta swan leavitt. A graduate of radcliffe college, she worked at the harvard college observatory as a computer, tasked with examining photographic plates in order to measure and catalog the brightness of stars. After she was employed by harvard college observatory in 1902, she made significant contributions to astronomy, despite ill health, deafness and the major handicap of being a woman. Henrietta leavitt celebrating the forgotten astronomer. Leavitts discovery provided astronomers with the first standard candle with which to measure the distance to faraway galaxies. Henrietta swan leavitt biography, facts and pictures.
Women could be paid less than men, and were generally seen as detailoriented and suited for the often boring and rote work of data analysis. Storie di astronomi henrietta leavitt e le variabili cefeidi. Henrietta swan leavitt was an american astronomer and graduate of radcliffe college, who worked as a computer at the harvard college observatory hco, where she examined glass photographic plates and measured the brightness, or magnitude, of stars. You can see that some of the faint variable stars leavitt had identified are missing here, but they are probably included in additional faint variable star catalogs and the henry. Hubbles luck was to come along soon after an ingenious woman named henrietta swan leavitt had figured out a way to do so.
Humanitys understanding of the relative brightness and variability of stars was revolutionized by the work of henrietta swan leavitt 18681921. Henrietta swan leavitt was one of many women computers who worked at harvard university, cataloging stars around the turn of the last century. Henrietta leavitt, how she loved the clouds inside. At a time when women astronomers were few and most often relegated. When youre studying astronomy, dont forget the women who made an impact in the field. She didnt set out to solve the biggest questions astronomers of the 20th century faced, but. Look up henrietta leavitt, pioneering woman astronomer.
She made this discovery, among others, while employed at the harvard college observatory as a human computer examining photographic plates to measure and catalog the brightness of stars. Qualified radcliffe students landed unpaid internships. Where others in her time debated over our true place in the universe, her calculations paved the way to some of the most important discoveries of the 20 th century, which answered that very question. Leavitts job was to analyse the many photographic plates. Henrietta swan leavitt and her contributions to astronomy. Henrietta leavitt was an astronomer who opened the door to a dramatic enlargement in the size of the known universe. In doing so, henrietta swan leavitt provided the key to solving one of the. A 125th anniversary worth noting general observing and. Apr 15, 2016 in the first of our threepart series we are going to explore the extraordinary women that made their mark in the astronomy world, despite it being a maledominated profession. Henrietta swan leavitt found that a certain type of star makes a perfect yardstick for measuring astronomical distances. In the first of our threepart series we are going to explore the extraordinary women that made their mark in the astronomy world, despite it being a maledominated profession. The astronomy book, lesson 10 the astronomy book, lesson 10 stars and galaxies. Henrietta swan leavitt, american astronomer known for her discovery of the relationship between period and luminosity in cepheid variables, pulsating stars.
Henrietta swan leavitt wikipedia, a enciclopedia livre. This includes data values and the controlled vocabularies that house them. Check out this list of amazing achievements by women astronomers and astrophysicists. Henrietta swan leavitt july 4, 1868 december 12, 1921 was the american astronomer who discovered the relationship between the luminosity and the period of cepheid variable stars. Solving cepheid mysteries with the magellanic clouds. Celebrate researcher henrietta swan leavitts 150th birthday. Bailey henrietta swan leavitt, with plate xvii popular astronomy, vol. One may discover the true luminosity of a variable star by noting the period of the star, then one may compare its apparent brightness to the known luminosity of the star to determine its distance.
At a time when womens contributions were undervalued, attributed to male scientists, or ignored, leavitts findings were seminal to astronomy as we understand it today. Henrietta swan leavitts research transformed astronomy. This work led her to discover the relation between the luminosity and the period of brighteningdimming of cepheid variables. Perhaps there is none more so, at least with regards her impact on astronomy, than henrietta swan leavitt.147 233 1402 1422 1208 1124 1314 1100 1423 549 862 181 1223 1302 699 752 639 701 574 1351 1295 481 464 88 120 359 1321 651 376 1210 461