World Space Week is about to begin! This October 4th through 10th, we’re celebrating Women in Space. To kick things off, we’re starting with an observing challenge that highlights discoveries from some of our all-time favorite female astronomers.
Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming (1857–1911), one of the original “Harvard Computers,” was the first to discover the iconic Horsehead Nebula, in 1888. She got her start after working as a maid for the director of the Harvard College Observatory. Recognizing her potential, he hired her as a part-time administrator, and the rest is history. Fleming went on to help develop the Henry Draper star catalog and discovered hundreds of new stars, nebulae and novae.
Don’t miss the Horsehead Nebula this week, or these great galaxies discovered by 18th century astronomer Caroline Herschel, who contributed immensely to early astronomy, and discovered comets, star clusters and more.
Just south of the easternmost star in Orion’s Belt is the Horsehead Nebula, or Barnard 33. 1,375 light-years from Earth, its uncanny equestrian shape makes it an unmistakable sight!
Messier 110, or NGC 205, is a dwarf elliptical galaxy discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783. It’s a satellite of Andromeda.
White Rose Cluster
Also called Caroline’s Rose after its discoverer, or NGC 7789, this open star cluster also discovered by Hershel is in the constellation Cassiopeia.
Another open star cluster discovered by Herschel, NGC 6819 is found in the constellation Cygnus. It’s 7,200 light-years away.
We encourage you to share your observations and join the conversation through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using the hashtag #UnistellarChallenge!
If you’d like to send us your observations by email, send them to email@example.com.
Clear skies! 🔭