Silent Sky

Author Gunderson, Lauren
Year 2015
First published 2015
Publisher : Dramatists Play Service
Number of pages 63
ISBN 9780822233800
Keywords astronomy, religion vs science, women in science, wonder, awe, beauty (and science), historical, female scientist, USA or Canada


This play is set around the life of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a famous female American astronomer who worked on luminosity and Cepheid variables. It follows Henrietta from her last days at her father’s home until she starts working as a “computer” at the Harvard Observatory, where she, as a woman, is not allowed to use the telescope but rather works as an assitant to her male colleagues. Her fellow female “computers”, among them Annie Jump Cannon, support her in her own studies. It is her who makes the connection between the periods of Cepheid varibales and their brightness. (FmS)