2016 Fall Editor: Samantha Bailey

"Classifying the stars has helped materially in all studies of the structure of the universe. No greater problem is presented to the human mind. Teaching man his relatively small sphere in the creation, it also encourages him by its lessons of the unity of nature and shows him that his power of comprehension allies him with the great intelligence over-reaching all." -Annie Jump Cannon
Annie Jump Cannon in her Oxford robes (1925)
Annie Jump Cannon in her Oxford robes (1925)

Annie Jump Cannon
(1863-1941)
Annie Jump Cannon was born in Dover, Delaware on December 11, 1863 to Wilson Cannon and Mary Jump. Her interest for astronomy sparked as a young girl after she was taught about constellations by her mother. Annie studied most of her scientific interests at Wellesley College, but interestingly enough took a passion for photography and travel after she graduated. The image below is of a photo she took while traveling in Spain of the Mosque of Cordoba.

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After her mother's death in 1894, Annie decided to return to her career as an astronomer and began working at the Harvard College Observatory. Here she started her triumph to become one of the most famous female astronomers in history. Annie is known as one of Pickering's Women, who was hired at Harvard to help finish Henry Draper's Catalog. She had enormous talent reading stellar spectra and created the star classification system OBAFGKM, resolving the two different systems created by Antonia Maury and Williamina Fleming. She received many awards and classified tens of thousands of stars before her death on April 13, 1941.

To view the full version of Henry Draper's Catalog clink the following link Draper's Catalog
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Wellesley College

This website from Wellesley College, the place from which Cannon originally graduated in 1884, describes her personal life, education, career, and her accomplishments in stellar classification. It is easy to read and navigate and provides pictures of Cannon and her peers that help provide historical context.
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The women of Harvard Observatory From left to right: Ida Woods (Wellesley 1893), Evelyn Leland, Florence Cushman, Grace Brooks, Mary Van, Henrietta Leavitt, Mollie O'Reilly, Mabel Gill, Alta Carpenter, Annie Jump Cannon (Wellesley 1884), Dorothy Black, Arville Walker, Frank Hinkely, and Professor Edward King.


Annie Jump Cannon

This link from San Diego Supercomputer Center, provides a smaller biography of Cannon. It is a little more difficult to read than the first link even though it contains less information. Although it is informative, it talks less about Cannon's personal life and more about her contributions to astronomy, specifically her spectral classification system: OBAFGKM. It also does not provide any pictures beyond the one below.
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Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941)


This link is from the Annie Jump Cannon Website. It is a great site that allows you to explore her early life, education, career, and much more. The website also explains her work as well as those related to the work she accomplished. The photo below is a portrait of Annie that is displayed on the home page of the website.
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Spectral Classification of Stars

This link from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln site, explains the classification of stars in detail. It does not require prior knowledge of star classification in order to understand. While it is not specifically devoted to Cannon, it does include her part in the classification of stars historically.
Spectral Classes
Spectral Classes


Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy

This link from the American Astronomical Society, it explains the criteria to win the Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy: received a PhD in Astronomy within the last five years, submitted a research plan, be female, and from North America. It also lists the recipients of this award since 1934. The most recent winner is Laura A. Lopez, for her contributions to understanding the birth-to-death cycle of stars in our galaxy


4000 Years of Women in Science Biography Listing


The link above gives a list of biographies for 4,000 years of women in science. It is a great website to explore all the women who have made great contributions to science. On the site you will find a biography for Annie Jump Cannon. To go to the direct page of the Cannon's biography click on the following link. Cannon, Annie Jump.

Annie Jump Cannon

Annie Jump Cannon was the astronomer responsible for the classification of hundreds of thousands of stars. This link from Biography.com tells us about Annie Jump Cannon, her life, and her accomplishments.
  • NAME OF WEB SITE: Biography.com
  • AUTHOR: Biography.com Editors
  • OVERVIEW: This sites purpose is to give biographies
  • LAST UPDATED: April 2nd, 2014
  • DATE REVIEWED: December 4th, 2016
  • REVIEWED BY: Samantha Bailey
  • ACCURACY: All information seems accurate
  • READABILITY and CLARITY: This site is for anyone who would need a biography. This is very readable for anyone middle school age and up
  • EASE OF NAVIGATION: Very easy to navigate

Annie Jump Cannon- Britannica

This link from Britannica give us a biography of Annie Jump Cannon. Also, explains how cannon simplified Fleming's scheme to the classes O, B, A, F, G, K, and M. it was realized soon after that Cannon's scheme was actually classifying stars according to their temperature and her spectral classification was universally adopted.
  • NAME OF WEB SITE: Britannica.com
  • AUTHOR: The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica
  • OVERVIEW: This site is an Encyclopedia so it has information on almost anything you would need
  • LAST UPDATED: December 11th, 2014
  • DATE REVIEWED: December 4th, 2016
  • REVIEWED BY: Samantha Bailey
  • ACCURACY: All information seems accurate
  • READABILITY and CLARITY: The audience for this site is anyone who would need information. This is very readable for anyone middle school age and up
  • EASE OF NAVIGATION: Very easy to navigate
Hertzsprung-Russell diagram- Photo from Britannica.com
Hertzsprung-Russell diagram- Photo from Britannica.com

Sky & Telescope

Annie Jump Cannon learned photography because she became restless in the career options available for women, she later returned to Wellesley college as an assistant in the physics department. She became a "special student" of astronomy and was given access to Harvard College Observatory. Between the years 1911-1915 she was classifying 5,000 stars a month. To help with her process she created her own scheme, famously known as the OBAFGKM classification.
  • NAME OF WEB SITE: Skyandtelescope.com
  • AUTHOR: Ana V. Aceves
  • OVERVIEW: This site is describe as the essential guide to astronomy
  • LAST UPDATED: September 9th, 2016
  • DATE REVIEWED: December 4th, 2016
  • REVIEWED BY: Samantha Bailey
  • ACCURACY: All information seems accurate
  • READABILITY and CLARITY: This website is very readable for anyone interested in astronomy
  • EASE OF NAVIGATION: Very easy to navigate

Deaf Scientist Corner

This link from the deaf scientist corner explains how Annie Jump Cannon became deaf. It also explains many of her accomplishments including discovering 300 variable stars and 5 novae.
  • NAME OF WEB SITE: Deaf Scientist Corner
  • AUTHOR: Unknown
  • OVERVIEW: This site gives you information on all Deaf Scientists
  • LAST UPDATED: Unknown
  • DATE REVIEWED: December 4th, 2016
  • REVIEWED BY: Samantha Bailey
  • ACCURACY: All information seems accurate
  • READABILITY and CLARITY: This site is very readable for anyone interested
  • EASE OF NAVIGATION: Very easy to navigate
Variable Star- Photo from NASA
Variable Star- Photo from NASA



Rejected Princesses- Annie Jump Cannon

This link from Rejected Princesses- Women too Awesome, Awful, or Offbeat for Kids Movies gives us a biography of Annie Jump Cannon and explains why her life was too extraordinary and not conventional enough for her to be made into a Disney princess
  • NAME OF WEB SITE: Rejected Princesses
  • AUTHOR: Unknown
  • OVERVIEW: This site describes women who were too unconventional to become Disney princesses
  • LAST UPDATED: Unknown
  • DATE REVIEWED: December 4th, 2016
  • REVIEWED BY: Samantha Bailey
  • ACCURACY: All information seems accurate
  • READABILITY and CLARITY: Very readable for anyone who is interested
  • EASE OF NAVIGATION: Very easy to navigate
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