June Star Notes Update

Join us starting this month for our Project PHaEDRA Summer Series, which we will be hosting during our monthly office hours!

Hello everyone,

This is Sydney and Nico, Star Notes and Project PHaEDRA researchers. We hope you are all doing well and excited for the summer! 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 will be moving on to the second phase of Star Notes soon. As we reach the end of the notebooks that have plate numbers, we are grouping multiple astronomers into a single workflow. We also are including male astronomers who worked with the plates. The next phase of Star Notes will ask you to identify and describe anything that is ‘non-textual’ including astronomical sketches, graphs, and inserted material. Expect updates soon on when that workflow goes live!

Our next office hour series will be “Behind the Scenes”, and will feature three sessions in which you can learn more about the work that researchers do for Project PHaEDRA. We will be meeting on the last Tuesdays of each month at 2PM ET. This month, on June 28th, we will be hosting a virtual tour of the Photographic Plate Stacks here at the Wolbach Library, with Sarah Lavallee, Acting Curator of Astronomical Photographs. We are also planning for volunteers to do a “show and tell” during this meeting to highlight any interesting discoveries or questions you may have found during your work on Star Notes, including any pages or images that you’d like to share. In July, we will be celebrating the upcoming completion of the plate number phase of Star Notes, and we will have an intern from AWHI as a guest speaker to talk about their work on the oral histories of the DASCH project. DASCH is a project to digitize the glass plates, which has been active for over 20 years. In August, artist Erika Blumenfeld will speak about how the photographic plates have inspired her stunning visual artwork, and how she preserves history in her pieces. We hope to see you there over the next few months!

On Sunday, June 12th, our colleagues at the National Air and Space Museum will be hosting Sally’s Night: A Celebration of astronaut Sally Ride and women in STEM, at the Washington Nationals baseball game. There will be a Project PHaEDRA hands-on activity with facsimile fly-spankers and glass plates featured at this event! If you are in the Washington DC area, and interested in attending, tickets are available here: https://www.mlb.com/nationals/tickets/promotions

Currently, the notebooks we are using for transcription of plate numbers for Star Notes belong to Boris Gerasimovich. 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 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!

Sydney and Nico
Star Notes Team
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 
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