December 9, 2013 - Annie, Get Your Spectroscope

Annie, Get Your Spectroscope The daunting task of developing a scheme to categorize the stars in the sky was accomplished by one of the most famous female astronomers, Annie Jump Cannon, born 150 years ago this week. Cannon, a Wellesley graduate, joined the staff of the Harvard College Observatory in 1896 to help develop a meaningful way to classify stars according to their spectra. Over the next forty years, Cannon studied the spectroscopic images of over 250,000 stars and devised the O, B, A, F, G, K, M system (from the hottest blue “O” stars to the coolest red “M” stars) that is still in use today, along with the phrase coined to remember the order, “Oh, Be A Fine Girl - Kiss Me.” In this image, the core of globular cluster 47 Tucanae, unlike most globulars, displays a variety of stellar types.

Image credit: NASA / ESA / G. Meylan (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne)

Weekly Calendar

December 9-15, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 9

First Quarter Moon 10:12 AM

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 probes enter atmosphere of Venus
2006: STS-116 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 10

1963: Dyna-Soar project canceled
1999: Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Telescope launched

Moon phase Wednesday 11

Uranus 3° south of Moon

1863: Annie Jump Cannon born
1972: Apollo 17 lands on Moon
1993: Sotheby’s holds first auction of Soviet space hardware & artifacts

Moon phase Thursday 12

1961: OSCAR 1 launched, first amateur radio satellite
1970: Italian ground crew becomes first to launch satellite for America, Explorer 42

Moon phase Friday 13

Geminid meteor shower

2001: Final drop test of the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle prototype

Moon phase Saturday 14

Geminid meteor shower

1546: Tycho Brahe born
1962: Mariner 2 first planet flyby (Venus)
1972: Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan becomes last human to walk on Moon
2013: Chang'e-3 spacecraft lands on Moondeploys Yutu rover

Moon phase Sunday 15

1965: Gemini VI launched
1970: Venera 7 makes first landing on Venus
1984: Vega 1 launched to study Venus and Halley’s Comet
2003: National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center opens
2010: Soyuz TMA-20 launched carrying ISS Expedition 26/27 crew

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.