Astronomy For Dummies
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When you're studying astronomy, don't forget the women who 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.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900–1979) Proved that hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the stars.

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

Vera C. Rubin (1928–2016) Investigated the rotation of galaxies and detected the existence of dark matter.


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.

Gabriela González Leader in detecting gravitational waves from merging black holes.

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.

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

Jill Tarter Leader in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Leslie A. Young Leader in the exploration of Pluto.

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Stephen P. Maran, PhD, is the retired assistant director of space sciences for information and outreach at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. An investigator of stars, nebulae, and comets, he worked on the Hubble Space Telescope, Space Shuttle missions, Skylab, and other NASA projects.

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