April Star Notes Update

Join us starting this month for our Project PHaEDRA Spring Book Club, which we will be hosting during our office hours!

Hello everyone,

This is Sydney and Nico, Star Notes and Project PHaEDRA researchers. We hope you are all doing well and enjoying the beginning of spring! As always, thank you for remaining interested in our work and for volunteering your time to help with our research and learn about the history of women in astronomy, as well as preserve the research of the Harvard College Observatory.

We have an exciting announcement! Thanks to all your hard work on Star Notes over the past two years, we are nearing completion of the first phase of the project on the Zooniverse! Over the next few months, this means two things: first, as we reach the end of the notebooks that have plate numbers, we will need to start grouping multiple astronomers into a single workflow. We will also start including male astronomers who worked with the plates. Second, we will be launching the next phase of Star Notes where we will ask you to identify and describe anything that is ‘non-textual’ including astronomical sketches, graphs, and inserted material. This will first appear as a ‘BETA’ workflow, and we would appreciate your feedback!

We will be continuing our Spring book club this month! Thank you so much to everyone who attended our first meeting in March. In the upcoming months of April and May, we will be using our monthly office hours (second Tuesdays at 2pm ET) to discuss books about the history of women in astronomy and space science. We will discuss the following books: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly in April, and Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt in May. For each book, we will be focusing discussion on a specific chapter, so if you don’t have time to read the entire book, you can still participate! 

In April, we will be discussing chapter nine of Hidden Figures, the remarkable true stories and legacies of the black women mathematicians that played essential and yet hidden roles in NASA’s leaps in aeronautics research during World War II and the Cold War. You can register for the Zoom meeting by clicking the link here. Future updates and more information on the book club will be posted on the Star Notes talk board, on our website, and in future newsletters. 

Currently, the notebooks we are using for transcription of plate numbers for Star Notes belong to Arville Walker and Marian Hawes. The notebooks we are currently transcribing on the  Smithsonian Transcription Center belong to Williamina P. Fleming

If you’re a volunteer looking to get credit for your work on our project, please fill out this Google Form to receive a volunteer confirmation on Center for Astrophysics letterhead (you will need to sign in to a Google account to submit the form. If you don’t have a Google account, you can send an email to sydney.evans@cfa.harvard.edu). As always, if you have any questions for us, or if there’s anything that we can do to help, you can contact us or find us on the Talk boards. Have a great month and a great start to your year!

Sydney and Nico

Star Notes Team 

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 

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