Glimpse celebrates the women of Astronomy

Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming (1857-1911), photographic portrait, ca. 1890. Courtesy of the Harvard University Archives, call number: HUP Fleming, Williamina (1)

As the old proverb goes, women hold up half the sky. And this month, we at Glimpse tip our hats to the women who have helped make the sky and what’s beyond it more tangible, and its wonders more comprehensible than ever before.

This March, the release of our Cosmos issue coincides with the celebration of Women’s History Month! The number of women entering the field of astronomy in the United States and internationally is steadily climbing, and Glimpse would like to step back and appreciate the stellar accomplishments of the women throughout history who’ve paved the way.

One of the Cosmos issue’s “RetroSpect” features reflects on the life and work of Williamina Fleming, a maid-turned-“woman computer” for the Harvard Observatory, where day in and day out, she and her (all-female) staff provided careful analyses of astronomical data. But Astronomy remembers Ms. Fleming as much more than a number-cruncher. With no formal education in the field and in the face of social and financial adversity, she was the first American woman to be inducted into the Royal Astronomical Society in 1906.

And what, exactly, were the feats that earned her the honor?

Explore the pages of Cosmos and see

The women who analyzed stellar photographs and computed data at the Harvard College Observatory. Courtesy of the Harvard University Archives, call number HUV 1210 (9-5).


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