Cannon, Annie Jump

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Cannon, Annie Jump,

1863–1941, American astronomer, b. Dover, Del. In 1897 she became an assistant in the Harvard College Observatory, where (1911–38) she was astronomer and curator of astronomical photographs. Recognizing that spectra of many stars had been photographed in the second half of the 19th cent., Cannon classified more than 500,000 stars, in the process publishing many papers on the subject. One of the most significant achievements in 20th-century astronomy and the basis for contemporary theoretical understanding of stellar evolution, the catalog, named after its patron Henry Draper, is still in use. In the course of her photographic work she discovered 300 variable stars, 5 novas, 1 spectroscopic binary, and many stars with bright lines or variable spectra. In 1896 she discovered SS Cygni, a "dwarf nova" that repeats its outbursts about every 60 days. She made a bibliography of variable stars that includes about 200,000 references. Each year the American Association of University Women presents the Annie J. Cannon Award for distinguished contributions to astronomy.

Cannon, Annie Jump


Born Dec. 11, 1863, in Dover, Del.; died Apr. 13, 1941, in Cambridge, Mass. American astronomer.

Cannon graduated from Wellesley College in 1884. From 1897 to 1941 she was on the staff of the Harvard Observatory. Cannon, together with E. Pickering, published (1918–24) a voluminous work that contained a classification of the spectra of 225,330 stars.


Pannekoek, A. Istoriia astronomii. (Translated from English.) Moscow, 1966.

Cannon, Annie Jump

(1863–1941) astronomer; born in Dover, Del. Although deaf, she was a gifted pianist and amateur photographer, and after graduating from Wellesley she studied astronomy at Radcliffe College. In 1896 she was hired at the Harvard College Observatory, remaining there for her entire career. Devising a system for classifying stellar spectra, she reorganized the classification of stars in terms of surface temperature and catalogued over 225,000 stars. She was the first woman honored with a doctorate at Oxford and the only woman member of the Royal Astronomical Society.
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On his way to his cell a burly policeman cursed him because he started down the wrong corridor, and then added a kick when he was not quick enough; nevertheless, Jurgis did not even lift his eyes--he had lived two years and a half in Packingtown, and he knew what the police were.
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The cell was not a roomy one; still it was a little larger than an ordinary prison cell.
The boys did as they had often done before -- went to the cell grating and gave Potter some tobacco and matches.
But on other moonlight nights, when the sadness and the silence have touched me in a different way--have affected me with something as like a sorrowful sense of peace, as any emotion that had pain for its foundations could--I have imagined her as coming to me in my cell, and leading me out into the freedom beyond the fortress.
The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters.
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep,
One person of mild and benevolent aspect even gave me a tract ornamented with a woodcut of a malevolent young man fitted up with a perfect sausage-shop of fetters, and entitled, TO BE READ IN MY CELL.
But know that in the Soule Are many lesser Faculties that serve Reason as chief; among these Fansie next Her office holds; of all external things, Which the five watchful Senses represent, She forms Imaginations, Aerie shapes, Which Reason joyning or disjoyning, frames All what we affirm or what deny, and call Our knowledge or opinion; then retires Into her private Cell when Nature rests.
I mean the meeting of the King with Friar Tuck at the cell of that buxom hermit.
Having thus, in obedience to your majesty's commands, diligently searched all his pockets, we observed a girdle about his waist made of the hide of some prodigious animal, from which, on the left side, hung a sword of the length of five men; and on the right, a bag or pouch divided into two cells, each cell capable of holding three of your majesty's subjects.