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Who Was Annie Jump Cannon?
Annie Jump Cannon
Annie Jump Cannon at work classifying spectra.

Born in 1863, Annie Jump Cannon was an important American astronomer of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. She attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts and later found work with Edward Pickering at the Harvard College Observatory. At Harvard, she spent her time classifying the spectra recorded on photographic plates. She also searched for variable stars in photographs from the telescopes at HCO. Cannon worked with Pickering and Wilhelmina Fleming to devise a system of classifying stellar spectra that is still in use today. She also applied this scheme to stars observed in the Southern Hemisphere. Although she received numerous awards and honorary degrees (including the first doctorate in science Oxford University awarded to a woman), Harvard never made Cannon an official member of its faculty.

See also Women in Astronomy

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Spectroscopy and the Birth of Astrophysics