By Stephen P. Maran

Part of Astronomy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you’re studying astronomy don’t forget the women that made an impact in the field. Check out this list of amazing achievements by women astronomers and astrophysicists:


Caroline Herschel (1750–1848) Discovered eight comets.

Annie Jump Cannon (1863–1941) Devised the basic method for classifying the stars.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868–1921) Discovered the first accurate method for measuring great distances in space.

Sally Ride (1951–2012) A trained astrophysicist, she is the first American woman in space.


Jocelyn Bell Burnell Discovered pulsars in her work as a graduate student.

E. Margaret Burbidge Pioneered modern studies of galaxies and quasars.

Wendy Freedman Leader in measuring the expansion rate of the universe.

Carolyn C. Porco Leads the Cassini imaging science team in the study of Saturn and its moons and rings.

Nancy G. Roman As NASA’s first chief astronomer, she led the development of telescopes in space.

Vera C. Rubin Investigated the rotation of galaxies and detected the existence of dark matter.

Carolyn Shoemaker Discovered many comets, including one that smashed into Jupiter.

Jill Tarter Leader in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.