As always, great fun creating the promotional piece for the latest theatre production – Silent Sky.
THE STORY OF STELLAR WOMEN WHO MADE ASTRONOMICAL DISCOVERIES
Bradley University Theatre proudly opens its spring season with Silent Sky, Lauren Gunderson’s, acclaimed play about Henrietta Leavitt, the early 20th-century astronomer whose discoveries forever changed the way that we understand the universe.
Henrietta Leavitt, invited to join a staff of women “computers” at the Harvard Observatory, left her home and family in Wisconsin and distinguished herself in the shadow of male superiors who not only forbade her to touch a telescope but often took credit for her pioneering work. At a time when the Milky Way was commonly believed to comprise the entire universe, Leavitt and her female colleagues studied photographic plates of the stars, laboriously cataloguing them, calculating luminosity and searching for patterns. Leavitt’s unwavering examination of blinking stars, or Cepheids, led her to discover that light could be used to determine the distance and size of the stars in our galaxy—and tell us not only that the universe is infinitely larger than we believed, but also exactly where in its vast reaches we live. These crucial discoveries provided the foundation for the work of later, better-known astronomers, including Edwin Hubble.