On March 23, 2018, the Valdosta State Planetarium showed “The Ladies of Harvard.” The Planetarium Show was open to the public and had a variety of ages in attendance. There were three different show times 7 pm, 8 pm, and 9 pm. After each show, the observatory was open for guests to look at different stars and the moon through the telescopes.
Dr. Kenneth Rumstay presented about a group of women who attended Harvard in the early 20th century. The women were often called the “Harvard computers” and made calculations for the astronomy department. Dr. Rumstay said, being that it’s National Women’s Month, he thought it was the perfect time to show this history at this month’s planetarium show.
“I have always been interested in the Harvard Observatory, and Dava Sobel’s book came out last year, and I thought it would make an interesting planetarium show,” said Rumstay.
During the show, Rumstay discussed ways the ladies of Harvard distinguished what stars are made of, the distance between stars, the heat of the stars and other research that would later help further understanding of the universe. Women such as Willimina Fleming, Anna Draper and Annie Jump Cannon have made many contributions to science. Annie Jump Cannon now has an award in her name. The award is given annually to a woman who has made an astounding contribution to astronomy.
Sophomore exercise physiology major, Kaylen Jacobs felt the show was a great way to recognize National Women’s Month.
“I really enjoyed the show, especially because it had a good meaning behind it being shown during National Women’s Month,” said Jacobs. “It was really interesting, learning about the history of Harvard, I hope I’m able to attend the next show.”
The next VSU planetarium show will be held April 27, 2018, at 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm sharp. The show will also be open to the public, tickets begin being distributed at 6 pm. Lines form before the ticket table opens.
The tickets are on a first come first serve basis and the Planetarium holds up to 47 people. The observatory will also be open if weather allows it.
Story by Kaitlyn Baich, staff writer.