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Annie Jump Cannon

Annie_Jump_Cannon_1922_Portrait.jpgAnnie Jump Cannon (December 11th, 1863 to April 13th, 1941) was an American astronomer recognized for her contributions to contemporary catalogs and classifications of stars. Cannon classified approximately 350,000 stars and discovered over 300 new stars.

Cannon star-gazed as a child, and as an adult, she attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts where she received undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics and astronomy. Upon graduation, Cannon worked at the Harvard College Observatory where she assisted with the Harvard System of Spectral Classification and the Henry Draper Catalogue, cataloging systems that organized stars according to their temperatures or spectral characteristics. Cannon also had an interest in photography, and used photographic images to help map the stars.

Cannon had over a 40 year career in astronomy, and received many honors. Some of her recognitions include: the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Oxford University, the first woman officer elected to the American Astronomical Society, and the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. The Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy is named in her honor.

This entry is part of MPL's National Women's History Month.

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