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STScI Public Lecture Series

The Harvard "Computers" and the Classification of Stars

Presented by: Mia Bovill (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Category: Education and Outreach   Duration: 2 hours   Broadcast date: May 02, 2017
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Over a century ago at the Harvard Observatory, a group of women were hired to make precise astronomy measurements on a collection of half a million glass plates. Their results form the backbone of our understanding of stars, and lead to important insights on such topics as the structure of the Milky Way and the nature and origin of the universe. The group became known as the Harvard Computers, and they helped shape our modern concept of the universe. However, unlike Hubble and Einstein, their names are largely lost to history. In this presentation, Dr. Bovill will help bring the work of Mina Fleming, Antonia Maury, Henrietta Leavitt, Annie Jump Cannon and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin out of the shadows.