Cover image for Miss Leavitt's stars : the untold story of the woman who discovered how to measure the universe
Title:
Miss Leavitt's stars : the untold story of the woman who discovered how to measure the universe
Author:
Johnson, George, 1952 January 20-
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, [2005]

©2005
Physical Description:
xiv, 162 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
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.
Language:
English
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.
ISBN:
9780393051285

9780393328561
Format :
Book