On this day in Alabama history: Astronomer celebrated 100th birthday

On this day in Alabama history: Astronomer celebrated 100th birthday
In addition to her duties as a researcher and educator at Yale University in Hartford, Connecticut, Dorrit Hoffleit (shown here in the late 1950s) served as director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association)

March 14, 2007

Astronomer and science historian Ellen Dorrit Hoffleit celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at Yale University. A native of Florence, Hoffleit was the author of more than 600 published works on topics such as variable stars, meteors, spectroscopy and rocketry. She earned her Ph.D. from Radcliffe College, worked at Harvard and Yale Universities, and authored the “Bright Star Catalogue,” a compilation of research on the 9,110 brightest stars in the sky. Hoffleit also served as director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket Island, and became an important mentor for generations of astronomers, particularly young women. Hoffleit received numerous awards — including the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award — and was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. An asteroid was named in her honor.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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