August first is a day to honor ladies in astronomy, so it’s a good time to show children in regards to the many feminine astronomers, computer systems and different specialists who’ve formed the best way we see the universe.
I used to be attempting to determine if there’s a purpose Girls’s Astronomy Day is August 1, however the perfect I may provide you with is that it’s the day German astronomer Caroline Hershel (1750 – 1848) found her first comet. She was identified for locating nebulas and comets, and has one named after her, 35P/Herschel-Rigollet. She was additionally the primary girl to obtain the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
I don’t know if that’s the explanation, however we’ll name it that.
For those who’re a bit of low on schooling in well-known feminine astronomers your self, I’m right here to assist. That info on Caroline Hershel got here from ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, which has a web page filled with quick bios of feminine astronomers you’ll be able to take a look at.
Astronomy.com has a PDF you’ll be able to obtain with tales about 10 feminine astronomers all of us should know extra about, from Katherine Johnson (referred to as one of many “Hidden Figures” who computed for NASA and was instrumental in calculating the trajectory for the primary manned area flights) to Vera Rubin, who helped uncover darkish matter. It’s a bit of outdated however nonetheless good fundamental info to begin with.
Or you’ll be able to find out about Maria Mitchell, who found a comet in 1847 and was the primary feminine member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in addition to the primary astronomy professor at Vassar. She’s referred to as America’s first feminine astronomer, and the web site for the Maria Mitchell Association has an excellent lesson plan and knowledge for college kids desirous to study extra about her.
There’s additionally a whole lot of nice details about the feminine astronomers of Harvard University from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Annie Cannon is likely one of the most well-known, as she catalogued greater than 20,000 stars and her system of classification was adopted with few alterations by the Worldwide Astronomical Union in 1910. And Henrietta Leavitt found how one can inform how far stars are from Earth based mostly on their brightness.
For older college students, selecting one among these scientists to study extra about could be fruitful and remind them that science has hardly ever been an solely male area, we simply don’t usually take the time to study in regards to the ladies who did a lot groundbreaking work. It’s time to alter that!
[Photos: Katherine Johnson via NASA, Maria Mitchell via Maria Mitchell Association, Annie Cannon via Carleton.]