Annie Jump Cannon Google Logo Marks The 151st Birthday Of The Famous Female Astronomer
Cannon created the seven-scheme spectral classification system, and the mnemonic device "Oh, be a fine girl - kiss me" to help remember it.
Cannon rose to fame as a leading astronomer of her time, working with Harvard Observatory director Edward Pickering.
Joining the now famous “Pickering’s Women” team of assistants at the observatory in 1896, Cannon classified more than 300,000 stars, 300 variable stars, five novas, and created a bibliography of more than 200,000 references.
While working with Pickering, Cannon was tasked with helping examine and perform astronomical calculations. With a background in photography, she devoted much of her time to photographing, mapping and classifying hundreds of thousands of stars.
One of her most notable contribution’s to Pickering’s study was the creation of the “O, B, A, F, G, K, M” scheme, a way of classifying stars into seven specific spectral classes. To help remember, and teach future astronomers her classification system, Cannon created the mnemonic device “Oh be a fine girl – kiss me!”
Cannon’s first catalog of stars was published in 1901, but it wasn’t until 1922 that the International Astronomical Union would adopt Cannon’s classification system.
During her career, Cannon authored a number of astronomy books, and was the representative for professional women at the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair.
She was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Oxford University, and the first female to be elected as an officer of the American Astronomical Society.
She received numerous awards, including the Henry Draper Medal, and is the namesake of the lunar crater “Cannon.”
Annie Jump Cannon died at age 77 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.