June Star Notes Update

Hello everyone,

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

Special Event: The Fire of Stars Book Signing

We are sending this newsletter a little early to make sure that the word gets out about a special event in June at the Wolbach Library, where Project PHaEDRA is based. On June 2nd from 5pm to 7pm, the Wolbach Library will be hosting “The Art and Story of The Fire of Stars”. This event will be a visit and presentation by Katherine Roy, the award-winning science illustrator of the gorgeous picture book about Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin titled The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made Of. This book powerfully parallels the kindling of Cecilia Payne’s own curiosity and her scientific career with the process of a star’s birth, from mere possibility in an expanse of space to an eventual, breathtaking explosion of light. Roy will deliver a unique presentation on how she created the book’s stunning visual storyline from the first rough ideas to the final art, and share what she learned about inquiry, resilience, and star science from Cecilia herself along the way. Kids and astrophysicists alike will love this look behind the scenes at how science informs art, how curiosity shapes discovery, and the importance of finding the right problem to solve.

This event is free and open to the public! The Fire of the Stars and other books by Katherine Roy will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Onsite parking is also free for attendees!

The Fire of Stars Book Signing
June 2nd, 2023, 5pm to 7pm
Wolbach Library, Center for Astrophysics

60 Garden St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Google Maps Link

You can read more about this event on our website, and contact us at library@cfa.harvard.edu with questions. You can view a book trailer for The Fire of Stars at this link.

Office Hours on Hiatus

In the coming months, we are continuing our hiatus from regularly scheduled office hours, which we usually hold on the second Tuesday of each month at 2PM ET. During these office hours, we have Q&A, space for discussion, and invite visiting speakers. Stay tuned for updates about new programming, and for information about events outside of the office hours, like Katherine Roy’s upcoming visit in June. You can expect updates here in our newsletters, on social media, and on the Zooniverse talk boards. 

Transcription Center Update

On the Smithsonian Transcription Center, volunteers are currently transcribing notebooks belonging to Williamina P. Fleming, Evelyn F. Leland, Muriel Mussells, Sylvia Mussells, and Annie Jump Cannon

Thank you to everyone who attended our Smithsonian Transcription Center Clinic in February, in which we discussed detailed examples and new guidelines for transcribing. You can view a recording of the meeting here. You can expect new instructions with this information to be uploaded to our Smithsonian Transcription Center project sometime soon. We are also brainstorming ways to make the instructions more accessible, such as small videos for each topic. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, suggestions, or general feedback concerning transcription via email at sydney.evans@cfa.harvard.edu and kfrey@cfa.harvard.edu, or library@cfa.harvard.edu. You can also reach out to ask us to reopen completed pages for edits. 

Star Notes Update

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 this workflow, as well as discuss your interesting new findings! 

Commemorative Book

We are still working on developing 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 and classifying the content in the notebooks. We would like to include volunteer perspectives and contributions in the book and have those contributions be at the heart of the commemoration. 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.

Volunteer Credit

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 & Katie
Project PHaEDRA Team, Wolbach Library 
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Website | Twitter | Instagram 

(Cover image: The front cover of “The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made Of” by Kirsten W. Larson and illustrated by Sibert Honor winner Katherine Roy.)

Sydney Evans
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