Henrietta Leavitt, US astronomer

Henrietta Leavitt, US astronomer

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921), US astronomer. Leavitt, the daughter of a church minister, was born in Massachusetts, USA. Despite being a woman and deaf, she decide upon a career in astronomy. She worked as a 'computer' for Pickering at Harvard Observatory from 1893, but by the time of her death from cancer she was head of stellar photometry. She did important work on variable stars, laying the groundwork for them to be used to determine the size and age of the universe. An asteroid and a lunar crater are named in her honour. Photograph published in 1922 in Popular Astronomy (volume 30).

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