31 Days of Notable Women- Henrietta Swan Leavitt, astronomer

stars at nightHenrietta Swan Leavitt performed her research from an observatory’s photographic plate collection. Using the plates, she determined a star’s magnitude. There was no standard for ascertaining magnitudes at the time, so Leavitt devised a system, using “the north polar sequence” as a gage of brightness for stars during her investigations. This was quickly recognized by the scientific community as an important standard and in 1913, was adopted by the International Committee on Photographic Magnitudes.

Source: http://www.womanastronomer.com/hleavitt.htm


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