Henrietta Swan Leavitt
|Born||July 4, 1868|
Lancaster, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||December 12, 1921 (aged 53)|
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||Radcliffe College, Oberlin College|
|Known for||Leavitt's law: the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheid variables|
She discovered the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheid variables. Her work allowed astronomers to measure distances up to about 20 million light years. As a result of this, it is now known that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has a diameter of about 100,000 light years.
After Leavitt's death, Edwin Hubble established that the universe is expanding (see Hubble's law). He used Leavitt's period-luminosity relation, and the galactic spectral shifts first measured by Vesto Slipher at Lowell Observatory.
References[change | change source]
- Leavitt, Henrietta S.; Pickering, Edward C. (March 1912). "Periods of 25 Variable Stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud". Harvard College Observatory Circular. 173: 1–3. Bibcode:1912HarCi.173....1L.
- Malatesta, Kerri (April 13, 2010). "Delta Cephei". American Association of Variable Star Observers. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- Johnson, George 2005. Miss Leavitt's stars: the untold story of the woman who discovered how to measure the universe. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-05128-5
- Leavitt, Henrietta S. (1908). "1777 variables in the Magellanic Clouds". Annals of Harvard College Observatory. 60: 87–108. Bibcode:1908AnHar..60...87L.