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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…

Visual Astronomy Display: June 2021

The Wolbach Library wishes good health to everyone during this global crisis. Highlights…  Smithsonian NASM explains Afrofuturism, a science fiction genre which critiques whiteness in both astronomical institutions and speculative fiction; Team members of NASA’s recently announced Venus missions share their excitement; Fermilab breaks down the history of the discovery of the…

June Star Notes Update

Hi everyone, Hope you’re all doing well! Thanks so much for your continued efforts on our project.  Martha Borton’s notebooks were completed quickly; as always, we’re amazed by the continuous support from our volunteers. We currently have Mary Fowler’s notebooks on the project. Fowler’s work mostly focused on lunar plates. …

Visual Astronomy Display: May 2021

image of comet NEOWISE

The Wolbach Library wishes good health to everyone during this global crisis. Highlights… Hear the Greek myth of Menippe and Metioche, which explains the origin of comets; Listen to a radio emission recorded in Venus’ atmosphere; Adler Planetarium shows off their mobile telescope in the streets of Chicago; See Curiosity’s shot of a 360 degree…

May Star Notes Updates

Hi everyone, Hope you’re all doing well! Thanks so much for your continued efforts on our project. We’re at 8,000 volunteers on Star Notes, which is a huge milestone! We were recently able to complete all the notebooks of  Ida Woods and Hannah Locke. Locke’s notebooks were completed in just…

April Star Notes newsletter

positive plate reproduction

Hi everyone, Hope you’re all doing well! We had a great Women’s History Month, and we hope you did too. We’re so grateful to be able to share the notebooks of the Harvard Computers with our volunteers. We’re thankful for all of our volunteers for their continued support on our…

Visual Astronomy Display: April 2021

The Wolbach Library wishes good health to everyone during this global crisis. Highlights… Seeker explains the ISS’s NICER instrument’s relationship to sextants; ESA proposes recruiting astronauts with disabilities or parastronauts; Dr. Beth Biller discussed the future of photographing exoplanets; SciShow breaks down an alternative hypothesis concerning Mars’ disappearing oceans; Three…