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September Star Notes Update

Hi everyone, Hope you’re doing well! We’re so thankful for the hard work of our volunteers; we know it’s been a busy summer, so thanks for spending some of it with us! We still have the remaining notebooks of Frances Woodworth Wright on our project, but look out for the…

Visual Astronomy Display: September 2021

Image of Judith Resnik and Christa McAuliffe. Resnik is on the left and has curly black hair. McAuliffe is on the left and has curly blonde hair. Both are wearing light blue NASA jumpsuits and smiling at something off-camera to the left.

The Wolbach Library wishes good health to everyone during this global crisis. Highlights… A look back on how Judith Resnik and her team built Space Shuttle Discovery‘s robot arm; Saturn‘s core is surprisingly “soupy”;  Mars’ “new” volcanic activity; Why some astronomers prefer “snail mail” over the Internet; CfA’s Fabio Pacucci explains Stephen Hawking’s black hole paradox! Playlist Archive…

“The Theory of Light” by Thomas Preston

Dr. Thomas Preston (1860-1900) was an Irish scientist, notable for his 1897 discovery of the Anomalous Zeeman Effect. In addition to his work in magnetism and spectroscopy, Preston was an adept textbook author during the late-19th century when the emerging professionalization of the sciences elicited demand for formal educational materials….

Virtual Astronomy Display: August 2021

Image of Jupiter's moon Ganymede taken by NASA's space probe Juno

The Wolbach Library wishes good health to everyone during this global crisis. Highlights… Women Apollo alums remember working at male-dominated NASA; How physicists could detect neutron stars using gravitational waves; Hubble finds evidence of water vapor on Ganymede; Learn how Perseverance takes sterile samples of Martian earth; The Royal Observatory reviews new challenges in astrophotography! Extras… Podcast: Undistracted with…

August Star Notes Update

Hi everyone, Hope you’re all doing well! As always, we really appreciate your dedication as volunteers. We currently have the notebooks of Frances Woodworth Wright on our project. Wright (1897-1989) earned a Bachelor’s degree from Brown in 1920 and received a PhD in astronomy from Barnard in 1958. She taught…

“A New Method of Finding a Ship’s Position at Sea” by Capt. Thomas H. Sumner

On November 25, 1837, American sea captain, Thomas H. Sumner, departed Charleston, South Carolina on a ship bound for Greenlock, Scotland. While en route, he discovered a new methodology in celestial navigation, later eponymously titled, the “Sumner line” or the circle of equal altitude. On December 17th, after days of…

CfA Special Collections: A Blog Series

The John G. Wolbach Library at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is a research library with large historical collections documenting the history of the Harvard College Observatory, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the history of astronomical study in the United States more broadly. Included in the library are…

July Star Notes Update

Hi everyone, Happy summer! Thanks so much for your hard work on the project–we are so grateful for everything our volunteers have done! We currently have the notebooks of Mollie O’Reilly on our project. Mollie O’Reilly worked at the Harvard College Observatory from 1906-1918. She became Mrs. Mollie Sloan in…

Visual Astronomy Display: July 2021

The Wolbach Library wishes good health to everyone during this global crisis. Highlights… SciShow reviews recent research into hypothetical warp drives; A 62-mile wide comet visits from the Oort Cloud; How quantum mechanics might help birds see Earth’s magnetic field; The ESA tests satellite durability in an atmospheric reentry test using a plasma wind tunnel; Cool Worlds investigates…

Cultural Astronomy Series: Dismantling the Fathers of Invention

This essay is part of our on-going series on Cultural Astronomy, which will address cultural and historical themes in science and astronomy with the hope of developing open and informed discussion on the complex, historically-rooted challenges facing our community. History loves its fathers. I do not mean biological fathers, but rather…