Annie Jump Cannon Research Papers

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Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer and physicist who was born on December 11, 1863, in Dover, Delaware. Although she became deaf early on in life, her mother encouraged Cannon to pursue her passion for astronomy. Cannon attended Wellesley College and eventually graduated as a valedictorian during a time when there were limited opportunities for women in the field of academics, mainly science. She continued her post-graduate studies at Radcliffe College, which allowed her to gain access to the Harvard College Observatory; in 1896, the director of the observatory appointed her to a group called “Pickering’s Women” to aide in the completion of the Henry Draper Catalogue of stars (Wikipedia). In this time period, women solely dealt with data and calculations and did not have the privilege to manage telescopes like men. …show more content…
Her predecessors had invented many schemes on how to divide and classify the stars. After examining the bright southern hemisphere stars, she simplified these schemes into “classes O, B, A, F, G, K, and M, and she retained P for planetary nebula and Q for unusual stars…she also added numerical divisions, further dividing each class into 10 steps from 0 to 9 (e.g., the Sun’s spectral type is G2” (britannica). Based on the strength of hydrogen spectral lines, she classified stars in accordance to their temperature. In addition, she formulated the mnemonic device, “Oh Be a Fine Girl, Kiss Me”, which greatly aided astronomers in their own discoveries in the generations to come (sdsc). For example, fellow astronomer Cecilia Payne utilized Cannon’s findings to prove that hydrogen and helium are the main components of stars (Wikipedia). In 1922, the International Astronomical Union adopted Cannon’s stellar classification system; in fact, it is still used today

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