December Star Notes Update

Join us on December 13th at 2pm to learn more about telescopes!

Hello everyone,

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

To begin, a bittersweet message: a core member of Project PHaEDRA team, Nico Carver, will be moving on from the Wolbach Library this month to pursue astrophotography full-time. Nico joined the Library in 2019, and set up the Star Notes project on the Zooniverse. Nico says: It was a great honor to have worked on Project PHaEDRA over the past few years, and I would like to thank all the enthusiastic volunteers on the Smithsonian Transcription Center and on Star Notes for making it such an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I look forward to seeing how Project PHaEDRA progresses in coming years. 

We are very grateful for all that Nico has done for this project, and we will sincerely miss him!!

The next Project PHaEDRA Office Hour will take place on Tuesday, December 13th at 2pm ET. Our special guest, Ken Launie, is an expert on antique telescopes who has worked with some of the historical instruments at the Harvard College Observatory. He will give a presentation on this work, and answer your telescope questions! You can register for the Zoom meeting here

We are planning to create a commemorative book about Project PHaEDRA to celebrate the completion of phase one of Star Notes. This book will cover the history of the project and explain our motivations for transcribing the notebooks. We would like to include volunteer perspectives and contributions in the book. Some examples could include: interviews with volunteers, a contributors list, interesting finds, and guest essays. If you are interested in shaping the direction of the book and/or contributing to it, please fill out this short three-question survey.

The second phase of Star Notes asks volunteers to identify any non-textual material in the PHaEDRA logbooks, including astronomical sketches, graphs, and inserted material. As always, we are available on the talk boards to answer any questions you may have about the new workflow, as well as discuss your interesting new findings! Additionally, the notebooks we are currently transcribing on the Smithsonian Transcription Center belong to Williamina P. Fleming and Evelyn F. Leland.  

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 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!

Sydney and Nico
Star Notes Team 
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
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