About the Project
At Harvard College Observatory (now the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), women studied over 130 years of the night sky, all preserved on glass plate photographs. Women computers catalogued stars, identified variables, interpreted stellar spectra, counted galaxies, and measured distances in space. Several of them made game-changing discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. Interested in historical women? Love astronomy? Help us transcribe the work of the Harvard Observatory's women computers and see which stars shine the brightest.
The HCO's Astronomical Photographic Plate Collection (also known as the Plate Stacks) is the world's largest archive of stellar glass plate negatives, amassing over 500,000 celestial moments captured in time. Since the 1880s, women like Williamina Fleming, Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and Antonia Maury made their mark in astronomy (and history!) by studying these glass plates and publishing their findings with their director, Edward Pickering.
See an interesting notation about a glass plate one of these brilliant scientists worked on? Hop on over to the DASCH Project's website (http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/dasch) to see if the plate has been digitized and analyze it for yourself! To learn more about the impact of the women computers, listen to an interview with Dava Sobel about her book "Glass Universe" describing their legacy. For more information about this collection, check out the Plate Stacks website (https://platestacks.cfa.harvard.edu) or contact the John G. Wolbach Library and ask about Project PHAEDRA (https://library.cfa.harvard.edu).
At Harvard College Observatory (now the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), women computers studied glass plate photographs of the night sky. Here they catalogued stars, identifying variables, interpreting stellar spectra, counting galaxies, and measuring the vast distances in space. Several of them made game-changing discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. In these books, follow the work of Annie Jump Cannon, who in 1901 devised a robust and elegant stellar classification scheme that astronomers still use today. Interested in historical women? Love astronomy? Help us transcribe the work of the Harvard Observatory's women computers and see which stars shine the brightest. PLEASE NOTE: Please follow these special instructions
when transcribing these notebooks.