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Author Johnson, George, 1952 January 20-

Title Miss Leavitt's stars : the untold story of the woman who discovered how to measure the universe / George Johnson.

Imprint New York : W.W. Norton, c2005.


Location Call No. OPAC Message Status
 Axe 2nd Floor Stacks  522.0904 J632m 2005    ---  Available
Edition 1st ed.
Description xiv, 162 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
Series Great discoveries
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (p. 149-150) and index.
Contents Prologue : the village in the canyon -- Black stars, white nights -- Hunting for variables -- Henrietta's law -- Triangles -- Shapley's ants -- The late, great Milky Way -- In the realm of the nebulae -- The mysterious K -- The cosmic stampede -- Ghost stories -- Epilogue : fire on the mountain.
Summary How big is the universe? In the early twentieth century, scientists took sides. One held that the entire universe was contained in the Milky Way galaxy; their champion was the strong-willed astronomer Harlow Shapley. Another camp believed that the universe was so vast that the Milky Way was just one galaxy among billions--the view that would prevail, proven by the equally headstrong Edwin Hubble. Almost forgotten is the Harvard Observatory Computer--a human number cruncher hired to calculate the positions and luminosities of stars in astronomical photographs--who found the key to the mystery. Radcliffe-educated Henrietta Swan Leavitt, fighting ill health and progressive deafness, stumbled upon a new law that allowed astronomers to use variable stars--those whose brightness rhythmically changes--as a cosmic yardstick. This book is both an account of how we measure the universe, and the moving story of a neglected genius.--From publisher description.
Subject Astrometry -- History.
Leavitt, Henrietta Swan, 1868-1921.
Astronomical photometry.
Astronomy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
ISBN 0393051285
Standard No. 9780393051285
NLGGC 272289957
YDXCP 2168927

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