Zooniverse Project Announcement

notebook cover

Hi everyone,

We are happy to announce that a new project is now up on the Zooniverse website: Star Notes. This project is connected to Project PHaEDRA at the John G. Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The goal of Project PHaEDRA is to catalog, digitize, and transcribe over 2500 logbooks and notebooks created by the Harvard Computers and other early astronomers. 

The Harvard Computers were a group of women who worked at the Harvard Observatory from the late 1800s-early 1900s. This group included Annie Jump Cannon, Williamina Fleming, Cecilia Payne, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and many others. Our goal is to ensure that these notebooks, created by a remarkable group of people, are as accessible and useful as possible. 

We are working to transcribe the PHaEDRA collection so that the collection can be full-text searchable on the NASA Astrophysics Data System. The notebooks will also eventually be linked to their original source material: 500,000 glass plate photographs representing the first ever picture of the visible universe. These glass plate photos are currently being digitized through a project called DASCH: Digital Access to a Sky Century at Harvard. 

By digitizing these documents and connecting these notebooks to the glass plates, researchers can view over 100 years of observations to learn how the Universe is evolving. The Project PHaEDRA collection represents the groundbreaking work of the Harvard Computers and other early astronomers. These notebooks can now also act as an anchor to connect modern science with historical data and these scientists’ legacy

We hope you will consider working on this new project and contributing to the field of astronomy. 

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