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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Knox College Celebrates Early Female Astronomers

Knox+College+Celebrates+Early+Female+Astronomers

This past weekend Knox College celebrated early female astronomers with the play Silent Sky, and an opportunity for the community to use the observatory.

Junior Mei Zuch, sophomore Alexis Sendall, and first-year Elizabeth Menges starred in the show as three of the early 20th century’s most important astronomers, Henrietta Leavitt, Williamina Flemming, and Annie Cannon.

Saturday night’s show was followed by a session at the Knox Observatory led by Associate Professor of Physics Nathalie Haurberg, assisted by several Knox Physics students. Images from the large telescope were shown on screens so all could see.

Silent Sky follows the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt. She cataloged a special kind of star called Cepheid variables, which pulse regularly. Leavitt discovered that the period of the pulses was directly correlated to the actual brightness of the star.

Later astronomers, like Edwin Hubble – the namesake of the Hubble telescope – used this to compare perceived brightness to actual brightness, enabling him to calculate distances from Earth to stars.

Attendees were given the chance to see one of the Cepheids Leavitt cataloged in the Knox Observatory, as well as other celestial bodies, including the Andromeda galaxy and Saturn.

Silent Sky ran from Nov. 2 through Nov. 4.

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About the Contributor
Eleanor Lindenmayer
Eleanor Lindenmayer, Editor-In-Chief
Eleanor Lindenmayer '25 (she/her) is a journalism major. She started working for TKS as a staff writer when she was in her first year. She has also worked as the discourse editor and is now the Editor-in-Chief. Eleanor has also been published at Tri States Public Radio, where she was an intern and a freelancer. Eleanor was born and raised in the pacific northwest and will argue that there is no better place on this earth. Awards Illinois College Press Association 2024
  • 1st Place In Depth Reporting
  • 1st Place News
  • 1st Place Feature
Illinois College Press Association 2023
  • 2nd Place Columns
  • Honorable Mention Columns
Knox College 2023 Ida M. Tarbell Memorial Prize For Investigative Reporting    

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