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Charlotte Sitterly, US astronomer

Charlotte Sitterly, US astronomer

H419/0542

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Credit

EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Charlotte Sitterly, US astronomer. Charlotte Emma Moore Sitterly (1898-1990) spent most of her life analysing data from the solar spectrum (the Sun's light split into its constituent colours) and published books that became essential texts in the field. Her tables of atomic spectra and energy levels, published by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), have remained essential references in spectroscopy for decades. Whilst working at the Princeton University Observatory and the Mt. Wilson Observatory she analysed the spectral lines of the Sun and was able to identify the chemical elements within it. When the space age arrived, she became involved in studying the solar spectrum in the ultraviolet range, which is invisible from below the atmosphere. She was elected as an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1949.

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