Women & The Stars
Women's History Month is a time for celebration of so many accomplishments for women. The Women of the Leading Ladies of Flight & The Space Age series has been an adventure for me to dust off volumes from history I've long loved as well as delve into learning about the new generations of Astronauts who have been selected for NASA's & SpaceX's missions.
I'm continually impressed by the range of incredible ability and the many accomplishments the women of Space Travel have under their belts BEFORE they even step foot on the launch pads! I hope that you take the time to learn about the epic adventures in the Arctic, the Himalayas, time spent as an Aquanaut, Military training, and the rigorous experiences the women of The Space Age challenge themselves with and simply refer to it as their job. Many describe it to be their calling in life. They take on many unthinkable tasks and problem solve in the harshest and most unforgiving climates.
During the 1800's, long before rockets soared through our atmosphere and into orbit, a group of talented graduates worked to categorize stars. They were known as the "human computers" of Harvard University. This group of women specifically chosen for their attention to detail and mathematic prowess was employed to implement systems of categorization of stars, captured in images on glass plates. Their dedicated analysis helped determine the distance between stars, and even provide an indication of the approximate size of stars. The work produced a classification system which was performed based on the intensity or brightness of the light, how beams shed rays and what the stars looked like. Stars were placed in groups and were paired and watched for cyclical observation.
The progressive approach behind the hiring of these great minds is an indication that even prior to the passing of the 19th Amendment it was acknowledged that in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math it was recognized that contributions from women were highly noteworthy. Women were not to be underestimated. The department heads responsible for assembling these teams were advocates for The Suffrage Movement, and that is commendable and noteworthy.
Regardless of the many contributions women have made, how many have launched into the atmosphere, and how many now have the right to vote we still have so far yet to go. Women still fight today to be appreciated for their accomplishments and for their minds to be appreciated in all fields of study. However, the women behind the Science who calculate the Math to safely jettison rockets into the atmosphere, returned our Astronauts from the Moon, and landed a rover on Mars should be an inspiration for all little girls. The first woman to step foot on the Moon and then Mars will forever be a SHE-ro! Keep your eyes to the sky! It's going to happen!
This month and each day we celebrate Leading Ladies! Thank you for your indomitable spirit, and the work you do to advocate for all both here on this Earth and in the Stars!
Check out the book The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Author Dava Sobel. I think you'll be inspired by the incredible women she researched.
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