Henrietta Leavitt

Henrietta Leavitt was an astronomer that discovered the properties about a certain type of star, the Cepheid variable star. She found that the Cepheid variable star’s pulse rate can reveal a star’s brightness depending on how rapid the pulse is. This discovery also made it possible to calculate the distance between a star and Earth based on the star’s brightness. Ever since she was young, Leavitt wanted to study at a college. Leavitt decided to enroll at Harvard Annex since Harvard did not accept women at the time. She graduated in 1892, and began volunteering at the Harvard Observatory. From there, she analyzed photographs of stars and compared each property to one another. Leavitt transformed the field of astronomy by extending the range at which a star’s distance could be measured from Earth’s trajectory.

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