The One And Only Annie
Annie Jump Cannon was born December 11th, 1863 in Dover, Delaware. Her father was a state senator and shipbuilder. Her mother encouraged her interest to be an astronomer. Annie studied physics and astronomy at Wellesley, one of the top academic schools for women in the United States Of America, graduating in 1884. Following this she studied at Harvard University for access to a more powerful telescope.
While at Harvard, Annie developed a system of classifying stars by the spectra of their light (the light they give). This was part of the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars. The O,B,A,F,G,K,M classification is still used today. She classified around 350 000 stars in her lifetime and discovered 300 of her own.
Annie Jump Cannon proved that women can excel in male dominated fields. She had a passion for astronomy and certainly did not become an astronomer for the money. At the time, women astronomers were paid only 25 cents a day, less than a secretary. Amazingly, she won the Henry Draper award, one of only two women to ever win it.
Annie retired in 1940 and passed away in 1941. As a youngster she developed scarlet fever and became almost completely deaf. She never let this thwart her career in any way. Annie will be forever remembered as an inspirational academic and female pioneer, one of the most important astronomers ever.
That is the amazing story of Annie Jump Cannon.