Cannon, Annie Jump, 1863-1941

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1863-12-11
Death 1941-04-13
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) was the first astronomer to systematically classify the stars. She classified stars according to their stellar spectra using a procedure set up by Williamina Fleming. She is credited with classifying 400,000 stellar bodies and discovering more than 300 variable stars, 5 novae, and one spectroscopic binary. After earning a B.S. at Wellesley College in 1884, she spent the next ten years both at home and travelling abroad. She returned to Wellesley in 1894 for graduate study in mathematics, physics, and astronomy. She became interested in stellar spectra while studying under Professor Sarah Whiting. In 1895, Cannon began her study of astronomy at Radcliffe College, joining the Harvard College Observatory staff in 1897. She spent the rest of her life in the Harvard College Observatory. In 1897 she was a research assistant under Professor E.C. Pickering. She became Curator of Astronomical Photographs in 1911, and in 1940, just two years before her retirement, she was finally awarded the rank of professor as the William Cranch Bond Astronomer. She published the nine-volume Henry Draper Catalog, containing information about 225,000 stars, and supplemented by the Henry Draper Extension. The catalog is still accepted as an international standard. She received many honors and awards, including a D. Sc. from Oxford University, making her the first woman to receive an honorary degree from that institution.

From the description of Papers of Annie Jump Cannon, 1863-1978. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 77060499

Native of Dover, Del.; astronomer; graduate from Wellesley College; worked at the Radcliffe Observatory and began working at the Harvard Observatory in 1897; Cannon specialized in spectral photography and developed a system for classifying stars.

From the description of Annie Jump Cannon personal correspondence, 1940-1941. (Historical Society of Delaware). WorldCat record id: 76892158

Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) was the first astronomer to systematically classify the stars. She classified stars according to their stellar spectra using a procedure set up by Williamina Fleming. She is credited with classifying 400,000 stellar bodies and discovering more than 300 variable stars, 5 novae, and one spectroscopic binary.

After earning a B.S. at Wellesley College in 1884, she spent the next ten years both at home and travelling abroad. She returned to Wellesley in 1894 for graduate study in mathematics, physics, and astronomy. She became interested in stellar spectra while studying under Professor Sarah Whiting. In 1895, Cannon began her study of astronomy at Radcliffe College, joining the Harvard College Observatory staff in 1897.

She spent the rest of her life in the Harvard College Observatory. In 1897 she was a research assistant under Professor E. C. Pickering. She became Curator of Astronomical Photographs in 1911, and in 1940, just two years before her retirement, she was finally awarded the rank of professor as the William Cranch Bond Astronomer.

She published the nine-volume Henry Draper Catalog, containing information about 225,000 stars, and supplemented by the Henry Draper Extension. The catalog is still accepted as an international standard. She received many honors and awards, including a D.Sc. from Oxford University, making her the first woman to receive an honorary degree from that institution.

From the guide to the Papers of Annie Jump Cannon, 1863-1978, (Harvard University Archives)

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Subjects:

  • Astronomy
  • Astronomical photography
  • Women astronomers--Correspondence

Occupations:

  • Astronomers
  • Women astronomers--Archives

Places:

  • Delaware (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)