© 2020 by Ventura County Astronomical Society. EIN: 95-3152618

WOMEN OF ASTRONOMY... A PARTIAL LIST

Annie Jump Cannon

was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. Wikipedia

Born: December 11, 1863, Dover, DE

Died: April 13, 1941, Cambridge, MA

Known for: Stellar classification

 

Beth A. Brown

(July 15, 1969 – October 5, 2008) was a NASA astrophysicist and the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan's Department of Astronomy. Brown joined NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center as a post-doctoral research associate with the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council. She became a post-doctoral research associate for the National Space Science Data Center in 2001. She held several increasingly more prominent positions in astronomy before she died from a pulmonary embolism.

 

Henrietta Swan Leavitt

was an American astronomer. 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. Wikipedia

Born: July 4, 1868, Lancaster, MA

Died: December 12, 1921, Cambridge, MA

Nationality: American

Known for: Leavitt's law: the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheid variables

 

Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin

was a British-born American astronomer and astrophysicist who proposed in her 1925 doctoral thesis that stars were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. Wikipedia

Born: May 10, 1900, Wendover, United Kingdom

Died: December 7, 1979, Cambridge, MA

 

Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming

was a Scottish astronomer. During her career, she helped develop a common designation system for stars and cataloged thousands of stars and other astronomical phenomena. Wikipedia

Born: May 15, 1857, Dundee, United Kingdom

Died: May 21, 1911, Boston, MA

Discovered: Horsehead Nebula

 

Caroline Lucretia Herschel

was a German astronomer, whose most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets, including the periodic comet 35P/Herschel–Rigollet, which bears her name. She was the younger sister of astronomer William Herschel, with whom she worked throughout her career. Wikipedia

Born: March 16, 1750, Hanover, Germany

Died: January 9, 1848, Hanover, Germany

Discovered: 35P/Herschel–Rigollet, Comet C/1790 A1, Comet C/1790 H1

 

Maria Mitchell

was an American astronomer, librarian, naturalist, and educator. In 1847, she discovered a comet named 1847 VI that was later known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet” in her honor. She won a gold medal prize for her discovery, which was presented to her by King Christian VIII of Denmark in 1848. Wikipedia

Born: August 1, 1818, Nantucket, MA

Died: June 28, 1889, Lynn, MA

Discovered: C/1847 T1

 

Vera Florence Cooper Rubin

was an American astronomer who pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates. She uncovered the discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves. Wikipedia

Born: July 23, 1928, Philadelphia, PA

Died: December 25, 2016, Princeton, NJ

Awards: Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, MORE

Known for: Galaxy rotation curve, Dark matter, Rubin–Ford effect

 

Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell

(DBE FRS FRSE FRAS FInstP) is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who, as a postgraduate student, co-discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. She was credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century". Wikipedia

Born: July 15, 1943 (age 76 years), Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Discovered: PSR B1919+21

 

Eleanor Margaret Burbidge,

(FRS) is a British-born American astrophysicist, noted for original research and holding many administrative posts, including Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Wikipedia

Born: August 12, 1919 (age 100 years), Davenport, Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, United Kingdom

Awards: Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, MORE

Known for: Astrophysics, Fellow of the Royal Society

 

Mary Somerville,

was a Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy, and was nominated to be jointly the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society at the same time as Caroline Herschel. Wikipedia

Born: December 26, 1780, Jedburgh, United Kingdom

Died: November 29, 1872, Naples, Italy

Awards: Patron's Gold Medal

 

Antonia Maury

was an American astronomer who published an important early catalog of stellar spectra. Maury was part of the Harvard Computers, a group of female astronomers and Human Computers at the Harvard College Observatory. Winner of the Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy in 1943. Wikipedia

Born: March 21, 1866, Cold Spring, NY

Died: January 8, 1952, Dobbs Ferry, NY

Award: Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy (1943)

Books: Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College, Vol. XXVIII.-Part I. Spectra of Bright Stars

 

Hypatia

was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy. Wikipedia

Born: 360 AD, Alexandria, Egypt

Died: March 415 AD, Alexandria, Egypt

 

Nancy Grace Roman

was an American astronomer and one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. Throughout her career, Roman was also an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences. Wikipedia

Born: May 16, 1925, Nashville, TN

Died: December 26, 2018

Known for: Planning of the Hubble Space Telescope

 

Carolyn Jean Spellmann Shoemaker

is an American astronomer and is a co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9. She once held the record for most comets discovered by an individual. Wikipedia

Born: June 24, 1929 (age 90 years), Gallup, NM

Known for: co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9

Discovered: Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9, 5120 Bitias, 3554 Amun, MORE

 

Wendy Laurel Freedman

is a Canadian-American astronomer, best known for her measurement of the Hubble constant, and as director of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, and Las Campanas, Chile. Wikipedia

Born: July 17, 1957 (age 62 years), Toronto, Canada

Education: University of Toronto - St. George Campus

Books: The Young Stellar Content of Nearby Resolved Galaxies

 

Helen Battles Sawyer Hogg,

was an astronomer noted for pioneering research into globular clusters and variable stars. She was the first female president of several astronomical organizations and a notable woman of science in a time when many universities would not award scientific degrees to women. Wikipedia

Born: August 1, 1905, Lowell, MA

Died: January 28, 1993, Richmond Hill, Canada

Books: The Stars Belong to Everyone: How to Enjoy Astronomy, Astrophysik IV: Sternsysteme / Astrophysics IV: Stellar Systems

Awards: Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy, Klumpke-Roberts Award

 

Claudia Megan "Meg" Urry

is an American astrophysicist, who was the President of the American Astronomical Society from 2015–2016, formerly on the Hubble Space Telescope faculty and was chair of the Department of Physics at Yale University 2007–2013. Wikipedia

Born: 1955 (age 65 years)

Field: Astrophysics

Education: Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University

Awards: George Van Biesbroeck Prize

 

Mary Anna Draper,

also known as Mary Anna Palmer Draper, was an American, known for her work with her husband, Henry Draper, with astronomical photography and research. Wikipedia

Born: September 19, 1839, Stonington, CT

Died: December 8, 191

 

Maria Cunitz or Maria Cunitia

was an accomplished Silesian astronomer, and the most notable female astronomer of the early modern era. Wikipedia

Born: May 29, 1610, Wolow, Poland

Died: August 24, 1664, Byczyna, Poland

Nationality: German

Books: Urania Propitia

 

Margaret J. Geller is an American astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Wikipedia

Born: December 8, 1947 (age 72 years), Ithaca, NY

Awards: Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, MORE

Education: University of California, Berkeley, Princeton University

Movies: So Many Galaxies...So Little Time

 

Beatrice Muriel Hill Tinsley,

was a British-born New Zealand astronomer and cosmologist and professor of astronomy at Yale University, whose research made fundamental contributions to the astronomical understanding of how galaxies evolve, grow and die. Wikipedia

Born: January 27, 1941, Chester, United Kingdom

Died: March 23, 1981, New Haven, CT

Known for: Galaxy formation and evolution

Award: Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy

 

Nicole-Reine Lepaute,

was a French astronomer and mathematician. Lepaute predicted the return of Halley's Comet by calculating the timing of a solar eclipse and constructing a group of catalogs for the stars. The asteroid 7720 Lepaute is named in her honour, as is the lunar crater Lepaute. Wikipedia

Born: January 5, 1723, Luxembourg Palace, Paris, France

Died: December 6, 1788, Saint-Cloud, France

 

Debra Ann Fischer

is a professor of astronomy at Yale University researching detection and characterization of exoplanets. She was part of the team to discover the first known multiple-planet system. She also worked with Dr Tabetha Suzanne Boyajian. Wikipedia

Born: 1953 (age 67 years)

Education: University of California Santa Cruz

Discovered: Kepler-62e, Kepler-78b, HD 149026 b, HAT-P-6b, MORE

 

Jill Cornell Tarter

is an American astronomer best known for her work on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Tarter is the former director of the Center for SETI Research, holding the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute. Wikipedia

Born: January 16, 1944 (age 76 years), United States

 

Aglaonice or Aganice

of Thessaly was a Greek astronomer of the 2nd or 1st century BC. She is mentioned in the writings of Plutarch and in the scholia to Apollonius of Rhodes as a female astronomer and as the daughter of Hegetor of Thessaly. Wikipedia

Born: Thessalia, Greece

 

Agnes Mary Clerke, 

was an Irish astronomer and writer, mainly in the field of astronomy. She was born in Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland, and died in London. Wikipedia

Born: February 10, 1842, Skibbereen, Ireland

Died: January 20, 1907, London, United Kingdom

Awards: Actonian Prize

 

France Anne-Dominic Córdova, 

is an American astrophysicist and administrator, who is the fourteenth director of the National Science Foundation. Previously, she was the eleventh President of Purdue University from 2007 to 2012. Wikipedia

Born: August 5, 1947 (age 72 years), Paris, France

 

Sandra Moore Faber,

is an astrophysicist known for her research on the evolution of galaxies. She is the University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and works at the Lick Observatory. Wikipedia

 Born: December 28, 1944 (age 75 years), Boston, MA

Residence: California

Awards: Bruce Medal, Gruber Prize in Cosmology, MORE

Books: Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 2017

 

Annie Scott Dill Maunder, 

was an Irish-British astronomer. Wikipedia

Born: April 14, 1868, Strabane, United Kingdom

Died: September 15, 1947, Wandsworth, London, United Kingdom

 

Ruby Violet Payne-Scott,

BSc MSc DipEd was an Australian pioneer in radiophysics and radio astronomy, and was the first female radio astronomer. Wikipedia

Born: May 28, 1912, Grafton, Australia

Died: May 25, 1981, Sydney, Australia

 

Carolyn C. Porco,

is an American planetary scientist who explores the outer solar system, beginning with her imaging work on the Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the 1980s. Wikipedia

Born: March 6, 1953 (age 66 years), New York

Discovered: Aegaeon, Polydeuces, Daphnis

Books: Captain's Log - the Voyage of the Spacecraft Cassini

Awards: Lennart Nilsson Award, The American Humanist Association Isaac Asimov Science Award

 

Sophia or Sophie Brahe,

or after marriage Sophie Thott Lange, was a Danish noble woman and horticulturalist with knowledge of astronomy, chemistry, and medicine. She assisted her brother Tycho Brahe with his astronomical observations. Wikipedia

Born: August 24, 1559, Knutstorp Castle, Sweden

Died: 1643, Helsingør, Denmark

 

Sarah Frances Whiting,

American physicist and astronomer, was the instructor to several astronomers, including Annie Jump Cannon. Wikipedia

Born: August 23, 1847, Wyoming, NY

Died: September 12, 1927, Wilbraham, MA

Books: Daytime and Evening Exercises in Astronomy, for Schools and Colleges

 

Dr. Jane X. Luu,

is a Vietnamese American astronomer and defense systems engineer. She was awarded the Kavli Prize for 2012 "for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system" Wikipedia

Born: July 1963 (age 56 years), Vietnam

Thesis: Physical Studies of Primitive Solar System Bodies (1992)

Residence: Lexington, MA

Discovered: 15760 Albion, (145453) 2005 RR43, 66652 Borasisi, MORE

Awards: Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy (1991), The Shaw Prize (2012), Kavli Prize (2012)

 

Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins,

born Margaret Lindsay Murray, was an Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer. With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-wrote the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra. Wikipedia

Born: August 14, 1848, Dublin, Ireland

Died: March 24, 1915, London, United Kingdom

 

Wang Zhenyi,

was a scientist from the Qing dynasty. She breached the feudal customs of the time, which hindered women's rights, by arduously working to educate herself in subjects such as astronomy, mathematics, geography, and medicine. Wikipedia

Born: 1768

Died: 1797

 

Ellen Dorrit Hoffleit, 

was an American senior research astronomer at Yale University. She is most widely known for her work in variable stars, astrometry, spectroscopy, meteors, and the Bright Star Catalog, as well as her mentorship of many young women and generations of astronomers. Wikipedia

Born: March 12, 1907, Florence, AL

Died: April 9, 2007, New Haven, CT

Books: A supplement to the Bright star catalogue, MORE

Awards: Caroline Wilby Prize, George Van Biesbroeck Prize (1988)

 

Maria Margaretha Kirch,

was a German astronomer, and one of the first famous astronomers of her period due to her writings on the conjunction of the sun with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter in 1709 and 1712 respectively. Wikipedia

Born: February 25, 1670, Leipzig, Germany

Died: December 29, 1720, Berlin, Germany

Award: Berlin

 

Laura Danly,

Ph.D. is an American astronomer and academic. Currently, Danly serves as Curator at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Prior to her current positions, she served as chair of the Department of Space Sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Wikipedia

Born: July 7, 1958 (age 61 years)

TV shows: The Universe

Books: Chaos to Cosmos: A Space Odyssey

 

Heidi B. Hammel, 

is a planetary astronomer who has extensively studied Neptune and Uranus. She was part of the team imaging Neptune from Voyager 2 in 1989. She led the team using the Hubble Space Telescope to view Shoemaker-Levy 9's impact with Jupiter in 1994. Wikipedia

Born: March 14, 1960 (age 59 years), California

Awards: Carl Sagan Medal, Harold C. Urey Prize, Klumpke-Roberts Award

 

Mary Watson Whitney, 

was an American astronomer and for 22 years the head of the Vassar Observatory where 102 scientific papers were published under her guidance. Wikipedia

Born: September 11, 1847, Waltham, MA

Died: January 21, 1921, Waltham, MA

 

Andrea Mia Ghez, 

is an American astronomer and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. In 2004, Discover magazine listed Ghez as one of the top 20 scientists in the United States who have shown a high degree of understanding in their respective fields. Wikipedia

Born: June 16, 1965 (age 54 years), New York, NY

Books: You Can Be a Woman Astronomer

Awards: MacArthur Fellowship, Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award, Royal Society Bakerian Medal

 

Charlotte Emma Moore Sitterly, 

was an American astronomer. She is known for her extensive spectroscopic studies of the Sun and chemical elements. Her tables of data are known for their reliability and still used regularly. Wikipedia

Born: September 24, 1898, Ercildoun, PA

Died: March 3, 1990, Washington, D.C.

Awards: Bruce Medal

 

Sara Seager, 

is a Canadian-American astronomer and planetary scientist. She is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is known for her work on extrasolar planets and their atmospheres. Wikipedia

Born: July 21, 1971 (age 48 years), Toronto, Canada

Thesis: Extrasolar giant planets under strong stellar irradiation (1999)

Awards: MacArthur Fellowship

 

Megan Donahue, 

is an American astronomer who studies galaxies and galaxy clusters. She is a professor of physics and astrophysics at Michigan State University, and the president of the American Astronomical Society for the 2018–2020 term. Wikipedia

Born: December 5, 1962 (age 57 years)

Books: Cosmic Perspective, Brief Edition, MORE

 

Henrietta Hill Swope, 

was an American astronomer who studied variable stars. In particular, she measured the period-luminosity relation for Cepheid stars, which are bright variable stars whose periods of variability relate directly to their intrinsic luminosities. Wikipedia

Born: October 26, 1902, St. Louis, MO

Died: November 24, 1980, Pasadena, CA

Award: Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy (1968)

 

Margaret Harwood, 

was an American astronomer and the first Director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket, Massachusetts who specialized in photometry. Wikipedia

Born: March 19, 1885, Littleton, MA

Died: February 6, 1979, Boston, MA

 

Dorothea Klumpke Roberts,

was an astronomer. She was Director of the Bureau of Measurements at the Paris Observatory and was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. Wikipedia

Born: August 9, 1861, San Francisco, CA

Died: October 5, 1942, San Francisco, CA

 

Amy Mainzer,

is an American astronomer, specializing in astrophysical instrumentation and infrared astronomy. Wikipedia

Born: January 2, 1974 (age 46 years), Mansfield, OH

Nationality: American

Known for: Astrophysical instrumentation and infrared astronomy

 

Virginia Louise Trimble,

is an American astronomer specializing in the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, and the history of astronomy. She has published more than 600 works in Astrophysics, and dozens of other works in the history of other sciences. Wikipedia

Born: 1943 (age 77 years), Los Angeles, CA

Thesis: Motions and structure of the filamentary envelope of the Crab Nebula

Books: Visit to a small universe

 

Marie-Jeanne-Amélie Le Francais de Lalande,

born Marie-Jeanne Harlay, was a French astronomer and mathematician. Wikipedia

Born: 1768, Paris, France

Died: November 8, 1832