Women have always studied the night sky. Five thousand years ago, priestesses studied the stars and planets as a way to forecast human and heavenly events. Yet the names of most of these women have been lost. One exception is EnHeduanna, a high-ranking astronomer-priestess in [ancient] Babylon, although it is her poetry [that] survives to the present. Better known by far is Hypatia of Alexandria. And even in her case, the amount of information we have is tiny compared to her status in the ancient world. It is as if we could see two thousand years into the future and find that no one remembers anything about Albert Einstein except his name.
From Hypatia’s death around 370 CE to Caroline Herschel’s career in the late 1700s and early 1800s, information about women in science nearly disappeared from Western history. Belief in astrology largely replaced the study of astronomy. Most of those who observed the night sky looked for omens and portents. A few people tried to understand the motion of planets and stars [, but] they lacked the equipment that would let them see [...] and the mathematics that would let them understand what they saw.
In some Eastern countries, women continued to study astronomy. Queen Sondok [of Korea] built an observatory around 680 CE. We know little about her life, although the observatory still stands.
Nearly a thousand years passed before Caroline Herschel, the first woman astronomer in the modern sense of the word, helped change science forever. Once Caroline and her brother William began to do sound astronomical research [in the late 1700s] astronomy blossomed as a science.
In order to develop theories about the behavior of heavenly bodies, scientists needed enormous amounts of data. From 1890 through the early 1940s, women, especially those who worked for the Harvard Observatory [in Cambridge, Massachusetts], supplied most of those data.
By the early 1920s, major universities began to award doctorates in astronomy, a sure sign that astronomy had gained acceptance as a true science. Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin, who discovered that stars are made almost entirely from hydrogen, earned the first astronomy PhD awarded by the Harvard Observatory. She was quickly followed by Helen Sawyer Hogg, one of Canada’s most famous astronomers.
Resistance to educating women in the sciences increased rapidly, however. By the 1930s, most major [American] universities refused to even admit women to undergraduate physics programs, the first requirement for a graduate degree in astronomy. In the 1980s [,] Federal legislation opened university programs to women, and their numbers began to increase in all the sciences. By the turn of the twenty-first century, many more women were doing astronomy [than can be included in any book or lecture. The tide has indeed begun to turn, even if women still struggle with certain elements within society that still have narrow ideas of women’s appropriate roles.]
BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, SELECTED PRINTED SOURCES, AND WEB RESOURCES
1. EnHeduanna (circa 2350 BCE) is the earliest known poet whose name has been recorded. She was the High Priestess of the goddess Inanna and the moon god Nanna. She lived in the Sumerian city-state of Ur. She was appointed by her father, King Sargon, to be Chief Astronomer Priestess of the Moon Goddess. We don’t know her birth name, but the priestesses she supervised called her EnHeduanna, meaning “Ornament of Heaven.” In 2015, the International Astronomical Union named a crater on Mercury after EnHeduanna. STELLAR AND LUNAR OBSERVATIONS
De Shong Meador, Betty (2009). Princess, priestess, poet: The Sumerian temple hymns of Enheduanna, University of Texas Press, ISBN 978-0-292-71932-3
Franke, Franke, S. "Kings of Akkad: Sargon and Naram-Sin", in Sasson, Jack, M. (1995), Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Scribner, New York. ISBN 978-0-684-19279-6
Hallo, William W. and Van Dijk, J.J.A. (1986). The Exaltation of Inanna, Yale University Press.
2. Aglaonike of Thessaly was a Greek astronomer of the 2nd or 1st century BCE. She is mentioned in the writings of Plutarch as a female astronomer and as the daughter of Hegetor (or Hegemon) of Thessaly. She was regarded as a sorceress for her ability to make the Moon disappear from the sky, which has been taken to mean she could predict the time and general area where a lunar eclipse would occur. A Greek proverb makes reference to Aglaonike's alleged boasting: "Yes, as the moon obeys Aglaonike". A number of female astrologers, apparently regarded as sorcerers, were associated with Aglaonike. They were known as the "witches of Thessaly" and were active from the 3rd to 1st centuries BC. In Plato's Gorgias, Socrates speaks of "the Thessalian enchantresses, who, as they say, bring down the moon from heaven at the risk of their own perdition." Plutarch wrote that she was "thoroughly acquainted with the periods of the full moon when it is subject to eclipse, and, knowing beforehand the time when the moon was due to be overtaken by the earth's shadow, imposed upon the women, and made them all believe that she was drawing down the moon." One of the craters on Venus is named after Aglaonike. LUNAR ECLIPSES
Bicknell, Peter. "The witch Aglaonice and dark lunar eclipses in the second and first centuries BC." In: Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Bd. 93, Nr. 4, pp. 160–163, Bibcode: 1983JBAA...93..160B
3. Hypatia (born c. 350–370; died 415 AD) was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria, where she taught philosophy and astronomy. She is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded. STELLAR MOVEMENTS
Booth, Charlotte (2017), Hypatia: Mathematician, Philosopher, Myth, London, England: Fonthill Media, ISBN 978-1-78155-546-0
Deakin, M. A. B. (1992), "Hypatia of Alexandria" (PDF), History of Mathematics Section, Function, Melbourne, Australia: Monash University Mathematics Department, 16 (1): 17–22
Whitfield, Bryan J. (Summer 1995), "The Beauty of Reasoning: A Reexamination of Hypatia and Alexandria" (PDF), The Mathematics Educator, University of Georgia, 6 (1): 14–21
"We look at science as something very elite, which only a few people can learn. That's just not true. You just have to start early and give kids a foundation. Kids live up, or down, to expectations."
--Mae Jemison: first Black woman in space, medical doctor, and astrophysicist
Representation of Queen Seondeok of Korea
4. Queen Seondeok of Korea (c. 595~610 – 647) reigned as Queen Regnant of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, from 632 to 647. She was Silla's twenty-seventh ruler, and its first reigning queen. She was the second female sovereign in recorded East Asian history and encouraged a renaissance in thought, literature, and the arts in Silla. She built the "Star-Gazing Tower," or Cheomseongdae, considered the first dedicated observatory in the Far East. The tower still stands in the old Silla capital of Gyeongju, South Korea. FIRST ASTRONOMICAL OBSERATORY IN EAST
Lee, Bae-yong (2008). Women in Korean History. Ewha Womans University Press.
Wollock, Jennifer G. (2011). Rethinking Chivalry and Courtly Love. Praeger.
5. Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) 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. She was the first woman to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville). She was also named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838). The King of Prussia presented her with a Gold Medal for Science on the occasion of her 96th birthday (1846). COMETS. PLANET URANUS.
Brock, Claire (2007). The Comet Sweeper: Caroline Herschel's Astronomical Ambition. Icon Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84046-720-7.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Herschel, Caroline Lucretia". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Herschel, Caroline Lucretia (1876). Herschel, Mrs. John, ed. Memoir and Correspondence of Caroline Herschel (2 ed.). New York: Harpers.
Holmes, Richard (2009). The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science. ISBN 978-1-4000-3187-0.
Hoskin, Michael (2008). "Carolyn Lucretia Herschel". New Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 3. Scribners. pp. 286–287.
Winterburn, Emily (2017). The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel: The Lost Heroine of Astronomy. Brimscombe Port Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-8067-8.
6. Maria (pronounced Ma-RYE-Ah) Mitchell (August 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889) was a 19th-century astronomer and feminist who is best known for discovering a comet in 1847. Her discovery made her instantly famous and resulted in her being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — the only woman to have the honor until 1943, according to Harvard University Library Open Collections Program. Mitchell became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College in 1865, and was also named director of the Vassar College Observatory. She not only made strides for female astronomers when few women were working, but asked for — and received — the same salary as a male professor, according to Vassar College. Using a telescope, she discovered "Miss Mitchell's Comet" (modern designation is C/1847 T1) on October 1, 1847, at 10:30 pm. Some years previously, King Frederick VI of Denmark had established gold medal prizes to each discoverer of a "telescopic comet" (too faint to be seen with the naked eye). The prize was to be awarded to the "first discoverer" of each such comet (note that comets are often independently discovered by more than one person). Maria Mitchell won one of these prizes, and this gave her worldwide fame, since the only previous women to discover a comet were the astronomers Caroline Herschel and Maria Margarethe Kirch. A temporary question of priority existed because Francesco de Vico had independently discovered the same comet two days later, but had reported it to European authorities first; however, this was resolved in Mitchell's favor. The prize was awarded in 1848 by the new king Christian VIII. TELESCOPIC COMETS
Albers, Henry editor. "Maria Mitchell, A Life in Journals and Letters." College Avenue Press, Clinton Corners, NY, 2001.
Bergland, Renée. Maria Mitchell and the Sexing of Science: An Astronomer Among the American Romantics, Beacon Press, Boston, 2008.
Kendall, Phebe Mitchell. Maria Mitchell: Life, Letters, and Journals. Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1896.
Torjesen, Elizabeth Fraser, Comet Over Nantucket: Maria Mitchell and Her Island: The Story of America's First Woman Astronomer, (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1984)
Wright, Helen, Sweeper in the Skies: The Life of Maria Mitchell, (College Avenue Press, Clinton Corners, NY, 1997. ISBN 1-883551-70-6.
7. Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming (May 15, 1857 – May 21, 1911) was a Scottish-American astronomer. During her career, she helped develop a common designation system for stars and cataloged thousands of stars and other astronomical phenomena. Among several career achievements that advanced astronomy, Fleming is noted for her discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in 1888. STAR CATALOGUING
Cannon, Annie J. (June 1911). "WILLIAMINA PATON FLEMING". Science (published June 30, 1911). 33 (861): 987–988.
McGrath, Alex. "The First Computer: Williamina Fleming and the Horsehead Nebula". Galactic Gazette.
Newman, Alex. "Unearthing the legacy of Harvard's female 'computers'". BBC News.
Rossiter, Margaret W. ""Women's Work" in Science, 1880-1910". (1980). Isis. 71 (3): 381–398.
"Women Working 1800-1930, Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming (1857–1911)". Harvard University Library Open Collections Program. Contains links to manuscripts and other resources.
8. Annie Jump Cannon (December 11, 1863 – April 13, 1941) was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C. Pickering, she is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, which was the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures and spectral types. She was nearly deaf throughout her career. She was a suffragist and a member of the National Women's Party. STAR CLASSIFICATION
Des Jardins, Julie. The Madame Curie Complex—The Hidden History of Women in Science. New York, NY, US: Feminist Press, 2010. ISBN 9781558616554. OCLC 618891417.
Dvorak, John. "The Women Who Created Modern Astronomy". Sky and Telescope. 126 (2): 28–33 (2013). ISSN 0037-6604. OCLC 907890766.
Mack, Pamela . "Straying from their orbits: Women in astronomy in America". In Kass-Simon, G, et al. Women of Science: Righting the Record. Bloomington, IN, US: Indiana University Press. (2010). ISBN 9780253208132. OCLC 28112853.
Reynolds, Moira Davison. American Women Scientists: 23 Inspiring Biographies, 1900–2000. Jefferson, NC, US: McFarland (2004). ISBN 9780786421619. OCLC 60686608.
Welther, Barbara L."Highlights of an Exhibit to Honor Annie Jump Cannon". The Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. 7 (2): 85–87 (1978). Bibcode:1978JAVSO...7...85W.
9. Antonia Maury (March 21, 1866 – January 8, 1952) was an American astronomer who observed stellar spectra and published an important catalogue of classifications in 1897. As part of this work, she noticed periodic doubling of some lines in the spectrum of Ursae Majoris which led to the publication of the first spectroscopic observation of a binary star system. CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF STARS (SPECTRAL ANALYSIS)
Project Continua: Biography of Antonia Maury Project Continua is a web-based multimedia resource dedicated to the creation and preservation of women’s intellectual history from the earliest surviving evidence into the 21st Century.
Hoffleit, Dorrit (March 1952). "Antonia C. Maury". Sky and Telescope. 11: 106. Bibcode:1952S&T....11..106H.
Hoffleit, Dorrit (1993). "Maury, Antonia Caetana De Paiva Pereira". In Sicherman, Barbara. Notable American women: the modern period ; a biographical dictionary (6th pring. ed.). Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press. pp. 464–466. ISBN 978-0-674-62733-8.
Larsen, Kristine M. (1997). Shearer, Benjamin F.; Shearer, Barbara S., eds. Antonia Maury (1866–1952), astronomer. Notable women in the physical sciences : a biographical dictionary (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 255–259. ISBN 978-0-313-29303-0.
Sobel, Dava (2016). The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-670-01695-2.
10. Henrietta Swan Leavitt (July 4, 1868 – December 12, 1921) was an American astronomer who discovered the relation between the luminosity and the period of Cepheid variable stars. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Leavitt started working at the Harvard College Observatory as a "computer" in 1893, examining photographic plates in order to measure and catalog the brightness of the stars. Though she received little recognition in her lifetime, it was her discovery that first allowed astronomers to measure the distance between the Earth and faraway galaxies. She explained her discovery: "A straight line can readily be drawn among each of the two series of points corresponding to maxima and minima, thus showing that there is a simple relation between the brightness of the variables and their periods."After Leavitt's death, Edwin Hubble used the luminosity–period relation for Cepheids, together with spectral shifts first measured by fellow astronomer, Vesto Slipher, at Lowell Observatory to determine that the universe is expanding. STAR LUMINOSITY (BRIGHTNESS)
Johnson, George (2005). Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-05128-5.
Korneck, Helena: "Frauen in der Astronomie", Sterne und Weltraum, Oct. 1982 412–414
Lorenzen, Michael (1997). "Henrietta Swan Leavitt", in Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary. Edited by Barbara and Benjamin Shearer. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 233–237. ISBN 0-313-29303-1.
Sobel, Dava (2016). The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. Penguin. ISBN 9780670016952.
11. Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin (May 10, 1900 – December 7, 1979) was a British–American astronomer and astrophysicist who, in 1925, proposed in her Ph.D. thesis an explanation for the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium. According to G. Kass-Simon and Patricia Farnes, Payne's career marked a turning point at Harvard College Observatory. Under the direction of Harlow Shapley and Dr E. J. Sheridan (whom Payne-Gaposchkin described as a mentor), the observatory had already offered more opportunities in astronomy to women than did other institutions, and notable achievements had been made earlier in the century by Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, Annie Jump Cannon, and Henrietta Swan Leavitt. However, with Payne-Gaposchkin's Ph.D., women entered the 'mainstream'. In 1956, she became the first female professor at Harvard and first female head of the Department of Astronomy. STRUCTURE AND COMPOSITION OF STARS
Gingerich, O. (5 March 1968). "Interview with Dr. Cecilia Gaposchkin". American Institute of Physics.
Rubin, V. (2006). "Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin". In Byers, N.; Williams, G. Out of the Shadows: Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82197-1.
Sobel, Dava (2016). The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. Penguin. ISBN 9780670016952.
Turner, J. (16 March 2001). "Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin". Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics. UCLA. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012.
12. Nancy Grace Roman (May 16, 1925--December 26, 2018) is an American astronomer who was 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 has also been an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences. HUBBLE TELESCOPE
Armstrong, Mabel (2006). Women Astronomers: Reaching for the Stars. Stone Pine Press.
DeVorkin, David (August 19, 1980) Interview of Nancy G. Roman, Niels Bohr Library Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA
Harvey, Samantha. "Nancy Roman: Chief of NASA's Astronomy and Relativity Programs". NASA.
Malerbo, Dan (March 19, 2009). "NANCY GRACE ROMAN." Pittsburgh Post - Gazette.
“One of the reasons I like working with schools is to try to convince women that they can be scientists and that science can be fun.”
Nancy Roman, astronomer
Dame Jocelyn Burnell
13. Vera Florence Cooper Rubin (July 23, 1928 – December 25, 2016) 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. This phenomenon became known as the galaxy rotation problem, and was evidence of the existence of dark matter. Although initially met with skepticism, Rubin's results were confirmed over subsequent decades. Her legacy was described by The New York Times as "ushering in a Copernican-scale change" in cosmological theory. Beginning her academic career as the sole undergraduate in astronomy at Vassar College, Rubin went on to graduate studies at Cornell University and Georgetown University, where she observed deviations from Hubble flow in galaxies and provided evidence for the existence of galactic superclusters. Rubin spent her life advocating for women in science and was known for her mentorship of aspiring women astronomers. DARK MATTER
Domonoske, Camila (December 26, 2016). "Vera Rubin, Who Confirmed Existence of Dark Matter, Dies at 88". NPR News.
Lightman, Alan and Roberta Brawer (1992). Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674644717.
Overbye, Dennis (December 27, 2016). "Vera Rubin, 88, Dies; Opened Doors in Astronomy, and for Women". The New York Times.
Rubin, Vera (1997). Bright Galaxies, Dark Matters. Masters of Modern Physics. Woodbury, New York, US: Springer Verlag/AIP Press. ISBN 1563962314.
14. Carolyn Jean Spellmann Shoemaker (born June 24, 1929) 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. “QUEEN OF THE COMETS”
Chapman, Mary G. (May 17, 2002). "Carolyn Shoemaker". USGS Astrogeology Science Center.
Mestel, Rosie (July 9, 1994). "Carolyn Shoemaker and 'Her Comet'". New Scientist. 143 (1933). p. 23.
Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011). "Carolyn Shoemaker". Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World, Vol. 4. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
15. Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell (born 15 July 1943) is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who was credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th Century". As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. The discovery was recognized by the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish and to the astronomer Martin Ryle. Bell was excluded, despite having been the first to observe and precisely analyze the pulsars. PULSARS
Burnell, S. Jocelyn (1989). Broken for Life. Swarthmore Lecture. London: Quaker Home Service. ISBN 0-85245-222-5.
Coroniti, Ferdinand V. and Gary A. Williams (2006), "Jocelyn Bell Burnell" in Out of the Shadows: Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics, Nina Byers and Gary Williams, ed., Cambridge University Press.
Riordan, Maurice; Burnell, S. Jocelyn (27 October 2008). Dark Matter: Poems of Space. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. ISBN 978-1903080108.
"Science is not a boy's game; it's not a girl's game. It's everyone's game. It's about where we are and where we're going.”
Nichelle Nichols, former NASA Ambassador and actress
16. Margaret J. Geller (born December 8, 1947) is an American astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her work has included pioneering maps of the nearby universe, studies of the relationship between galaxies and their environment, and the development and application of methods for measuring the distribution of matter in the universe. MAPPING THE UNIVERSE
Shearer, Benjamin; Shearer, Barbara Smith (1997). Notable women in the physical sciences: a biographical dictionary. Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313293031.
17. Carolyn C. Porco (born March 6, 1953) is an American planetary scientist known for her work in the exploration of the outer solar system, beginning with her imaging work on the Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the 1980s. She led the imaging science team on the Cassini mission in orbit around Saturn and September 15, 2017 when Cassini was de-orbited to burn up in Saturn's upper atmosphere. She is an expert on planetary rings and the Saturnian moon, Enceladus. She has co-authored more than 110 scientific papers on subjects ranging from the spectroscopy of Uranus and Neptune, the interstellar medium, the photometry of planetary rings, satellite/ring interactions, computer simulations of planetary rings, the thermal balance of Triton's polar caps, heat flow in the interior of Jupiter, and a suite of results on the atmosphere, satellites, and rings of Saturn from the Cassini imaging experiment. Porco has won a number of awards and honors for her contributions to science and the public sphere; for instance, in 2009, New Statesman named her as one of 'The 50 People Who Matter Today.' In 2010 she was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal, presented by the American Astronomical Society for Excellence in the Communication of Science to the Public. And in 2012, she was named one of the 25 most influential people in space by Time magazine. OUTER SOLAR SYSTEM. SATURN.
Bjerklie, D. (Fall 2012). "The 25 Most Influential People in Space" (PDF). TIME. pp. 88–99.
Chandler, David L. (October 2, 1989). "Seeking the Truth Amid the Rings". The Boston Globe.
Farrer, Steve (January 10, 1999). "The brains behind the 21st century". The Sunday Times. UK. p. 6.
Niethammer, Carolyn. "Carolyn Porco: Cassini Scientist Yielded to the Seduction of Space". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
Science and Spirituality: An Interview With Carolyn Porco". 68. The Humanist. January–February 2008.
18. Laura Danly (born July 7, 1958) 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. Previously, Danly held academic posts at the University of Denver (where she served as assistant professor), and at Pomona College (where she served as visiting assistant professor). In these positions, she developed curricula focusing on astronomy, archaeoastronomy, solar physics, astrophotography and astrobiology. Danly spent several years at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, where she held a variety of positions including project scientist for education, assistant astronomer and Hubble Fellow. As an astronomer, Danly has extensive observational experience, including some 441 hours of ultraviolet observation (much of it via the Hubble Space Telescope). Danly has also completed hundreds of hours of optical and radio observation at such facilities as Kitt Peak National Observatory, McDonald Observatory, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In 1991, Danly founded the Women's Science Forum to encourage young women to pursue careers in science by providing opportunities to meet and ask questions of leading women scientists and engineers and take part in hands-on activities to explore opportunities in various career disciplines. In 1993, Danly co-authored The Baltimore Charter for Women in Astronomy to address the concerns of women as a minority group in the field of astronomy. SCIENCE EDUCATION FOR WOMEN
Danly, Laura, Leonard David, and Donald Goldsmith. Chaos to Chaos: A Space Odyssey. Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company (May 1, 2003) ISBN-10: 1558687009
Feder, Toni. “Following the Fun: Laura Danly describes how her passions for astronomy and public outreach eventually landed her a dream job.” Physics Today. 5 August, 2015
"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity."
— Mae Jemison, astrophysicist, medical doctor, and astronaut
19. Michelle Lynn Thaller (born November 28, 1969) is an American astronomer and research scientist. Thaller is the assistant director for Science Communication at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. From 1998 to 2009 she was a staff scientist at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, and later Manager of the Education and Public Outreach program for the Spitzer Space Telescope, at the California Institute of Technology. She is a frequent on camera contributor to programming on The History Channel and Science Channel. ASTRONOMY FOR THE MASSES/TELEVISION EDUCATOR
Sciences and Exploration Directorate - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center". Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
"SIRTF Profiles: Dr. Michelle Thaller - Manager of the SIRTF Education and Public Outreach Program". Spitzer Science Center. Archived from the original on July 13, 2007.
"NASA Biography - Michelle Thaller". NASA. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
Thaller, Michelle. “The 'Cat Mantra': How Astronomers Handle an Ungraspable Universe” (Podcast). Space.com. April 6, 2015.
21. Beth Brown (July 15, 1969 – October 5, 2008) was a NASA astrophysicist. She studied astrophysics at Howard University, graduating summa cum laude in 1991. She earned her M.S. in astronomy from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from there in 1998. She was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan's Department of Astronomy. Her research there concerned X-ray observations of elliptical galaxies. THE STRUCTURE OF GALAXIES
Bregman, Joel (1 January 2011). "Obituary: Beth Brown (1969-2008)". Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society. 43 (1): 004. Bibcode:2011BAAS...43..004B. doi:10.3847/BAASOBIT2011004.
Bregman, Joel. "Beth A. Brown (1969 - 2008)". American Astronomical Society. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
"In Memoriam: Beth Brown". American Physical Society.
"Beth Brown - Astronomer of the African Diaspora". www.math.buffalo.edu. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
20. Jill Cornell Tarter (born January 16, 1944) is an American astronomer best known for her work on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Tarter is the former director of the Center for SETI Research, holding the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute. She currently lectures world-wide. EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE
Grothe, D. J. "Jill Tarter - Are We Alone?". www.pointofinquiry.org (Podcast). Center for Inquiry.
Koren, Marina. "Jill Tarter, Feminist Cosmic Icon". The Atlantic. July 12, 2017.
Scoles, Sarah (2017). Making Contact: Jill Tarter and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. New York, NY: Pegasus Books. ISBN 9781681774411.
Though not an astronomer, Johnson was a trail-blazer in the field of space exploration. Katherine Johnson (August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020) was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. The space agency noted her "historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist". Johnson's work included calculating trajectories, launch windows, and emergency return paths for Project Mercury spaceflights, including those for astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit, and rendezvous paths for the Apollo Lunar Module and command module on flights to the Moon. Her calculations were also essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle program, and she worked on plans for a mission to Mars. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016, she was presented the Silver Snoopy Award by NASA astronaut Leland D. Melvin and a NASA Group Achievement Award. She was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson as a lead character in the 2016 film Hidden Figures. In 2019, Johnson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Eleanor Margaret Burbidge, (12 August 1919 – 5 April 2020), was a British-American observational astronomer and astrophysicist. In the 1950s, she was one of the founders of stellar nucleosynthesis and was first author of the influential B2FH paper. During the 1960s and 70s she worked on galaxy rotation curves and quasars, discovering the most distant astronomical object then known. In the 1980s and 90s she helped develop and utilize the Faint Object Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope. Burbidge was well known for her work opposing discrimination against women in astronomy. Burbidge held several leadership and administrative posts, including Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory (1973–75), President of the American Astronomical Society (1976–78), and President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1983). Burbidge worked at the University of London Observatory, Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago, the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of California San Diego (UCSD). From 1979 to 1988 she was the first director of the Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences at UCSD, where she worked from 1962 until her retirement.