Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins (14 August 1848 in Dublin – 24 March 1915 in London),born Margaret Lindsay Murray, was an Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer. With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-wrote the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra (1899).
Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. It is on the east coast of Ireland, in the province of Leinster, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and is bordered on the south by the Wicklow Mountains. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region, as of 2016, was 1,347,359, and the population of the Greater Dublin Area was 1,904,806.
An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, moons, comets, and galaxies – in either observational or theoretical astronomy. Examples of topics or fields astronomers study include planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies. Related but distinct subjects like physical cosmology, which studies the Universe as a whole.
Sir William Huggins was an English astronomer best known for his pioneering work in astronomical spectroscopy together with his wife Margaret Lindsay Huggins.
Margarey Lindsay Huggins was part of a family of four, Margaret, her brother, Robert Douglas, her Father, John Murray and her Mother, Helen Lindsay. Her father, John, was a solicitor,who attended Edinburgh Academy. Margaret's younger brother by three years, Robert Douglas, attended Edinburgh Academy at the age of twelve, and then attended further education in Trinity College, Dublin in his later years. The family home was a Georgian style townhouse, at 23 Longford Terrace in Dun Laoghaire.
Margaret's grandfather, Robert Murray, was a very important figure in her life. He was a wealthy officer at the Bank of Ireland but also enjoyed the hobby of astronomy. From a young age Margaret had a keen interest in astronomy as a result of the relationship between herself and her grandfather. When she was a young girl her grandfather brought her outdoors in the evening, and taught her about all the constellations and how they can be identified. This inspired her to be an astronomer, and she therefore attended private school in Brighton from a young age.
Brighton is a seaside resort on the south coast of England that is part of the City of Brighton and Hove, located 47 miles (76 km) south of London.
Margaret's early education took place privately at her home in Dublin, where she studied art, classics, literature, languages and music. She also spent some time at a school in Brighton, England. The exact location is unknown, but during this time period Brighton had at least two private boarding schools for girls, neither of which remain in their original location today.
Despite her successful career in Astronomy, Mary received no formal training in this field. Instead, she studied popular Astronomy books, including Sir John Herschel's "Outlines of Astronomy". Margaret also developed a keen interest in photography, which she studied in her spare time; something which would later play a role in her career.
Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet was an English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, experimental photographer who invented the blueprint, and did botanical work.
In 1873, during a continued effort to educate herself, Margaret read a copy of the 19th century publication Good Words. Although a religious pamphlet, it often published articles on general subjects, and science. Here, Margaret found a piece by the group The British Association for the Advancement of Science (now the British Science Association) about the recent work done by William Huggins on the spectroscope and constructed a spectroscope after finding inspiration in that article.
Good Words was a 19th-century monthly periodical in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1860 by Scottish publisher Alexander Strahan. Its first editor was Norman Macleod. After his death in 1872, it was edited by his brother, Donald Macleod, though there is some evidence that at this time the publishing was taken over by W. Isbister & Co.
The British Science Association (BSA) is a charity and learned society founded in 1831 to aid in the promotion and development of science. Until 2009 it was known as the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA). The Chief Executive is Katherine Mathieson. The British Science Association's mission is to get more people engaged in the field of science by coordinating, delivering, and overseeing different projects that are suited to achieve these goals. The British Science Association envisions a society in which a diverse group of people can learn and apply the sciences in which they learn. The British Science Association is managed by a professional staff located at their Head Office at the Wellcome Wolfson Building along with four regional staff across the UK. The British Science Association offers a wide variety of activities and events that both recognize and encourage people to be involved in science. These include the British Science Festival, British Science Week, the CREST Awards, Huxley Summit, Youth Pannel, Media Fellowships Scheme, along with regional and local events.
An optical spectrometer is an instrument used to measure properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically used in spectroscopic analysis to identify materials. The variable measured is most often the light's intensity but could also, for instance, be the polarization state. The independent variable is usually the wavelength of the light or a unit directly proportional to the photon energy, such as reciprocal centimeters or electron volts, which has a reciprocal relationship to wavelength.
Huggins' interest and abilities in spectroscopy led to her introduction by noted astronomical instrument maker Howard Grubb to the astronomer William Huggins, whom she married on 8 September 1875 in the Parish Church at Monkstown, County Dublin.Evidence suggests that Margaret was instrumental in instigating William Huggins' successful program in photographic research. She was a contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.
The London Times , in the notice of the death of Huggins, mentioned that Richard Proctor referred to her as the "Herschel of the Spectroscope". In her will she bequeathed to Wellesley College and to the College's Whitin Observatory some of her astronomy collection including cherished astronomical artefacts.
Prior to their first encounter, Margaret was already a fervent admirer of her husband to be, Sir William Huggins. William was a renowned "astronomical spectroscopist"whose line of work collaborated instantly with Margaret's. Their partnership was "one of the most successful husband and wife partnerships in the whole of astronomy".
After their marriage on 8 September 1875, at the Monkstown Parish Church, the "two star-gazed"lovers devoted themselves to their research and their inspiring companionship resulted in an array of astronomical findings. Margaret and William Huggins were the first to "observe and to identify the series of hydrogen lines in the spectrum of the star Vega." The pairs' detailed notebook entries contributed to their first paper publication in 1889, discussing the "studies of the spectra of planets". They were also among those who "observed the Nova of 1892, Nova Aurigae." Margaret was specifically in charge of the visual observations, while together they collected "photographic spectra over several nights." These various research projects kept them "at the forefront of astronomical spectroscopy."
As a very auspicious couple, their work had a major influence on their daily lives. Their home acted more as a work space, rather than a place for any kind of familial essence. Therefore, the Huggins couple never had any children. In 1903, Margaret and William Huggins' published their final piece of joint scientific research on the spectra of certain radioactive substances.
Margaret Huggins learnt the basic skills of photography early on in her life, and used these skills to assist her research at the Tulse Hill observatory. In 1875, Margaret and her husband William began photographic experiments, which were meticulously documented in observatory notebooks. Their early experiments photographed Sirius and Venus, and they used different techniques to capture them such as using wet and dry plates. Margaret made great improvements to their observatory equipment, and Margaret and William quickly rose to the forefront of spectroscopic astrophotography.
Margaret worked alongside her husband William at the Tulse Hill observatory. At first, she is documented to being an assistant, but after extensive research into their observatory notebooks, this has been disproven. She conducted many of her own research projects, and was a collaborative assistant to William. After 1875, Margaret and William began a meticulous program of photographic experiments. During the 1880's, the pair were devoted to two projects; the first attempting to photograph the solar corona, and the second examining different Nebulae. The second project marked a milestone for Margaret, it was the first time she would be mentioned as the co-author of the paper alongside William. The Hugginses worked together for thirty-five years as equal collaborative investigative partners.
After 30 years of devoting her life to Science, Margaret felt that she had contributed the best of her work. Sadly, Margaret's husband, William Huggins died in 1910. She planned to write the biography of her late husband, but never succeeded. Margaret fell ill and underwent various surgeries and spent some time in hospital. Aware of her illness, she decided to denote her scientific and artistic treasures to Wellesley Women's College in the United States. Margaret greatly admired the achievements of American women in the academic world and supported women's education.
Margaret Huggins died on 24 March 1915 at the age of 66. She was cremated and her ashes laid next to William's at Golders Green Crematorium. Margaret addressed in her will for a memorial to be erected in St.Paul's Cathedral, London, in honour of her husband. This memorial consists of a pair of medallions which are inscribed "William Huggins, astronomer 1824–1910" and the other "Margaret Lindsay Huggins, 1848–1915, his wife and fellow worker". There was a plaque established in 1997 that marks the house she grew up in on 23 Longford Terrace, Monkstown Dublin.
The Henry Draper Catalogue (HD) is an astronomical star catalogue published between 1918 and 1924, giving spectroscopic classifications for 225,300 stars; it was later expanded by the Henry Draper Extension (HDE), published between 1925 and 1936, which gave classifications for 46,850 more stars, and by the Henry Draper Extension Charts (HDEC), published from 1937 to 1949 in the form of charts, which gave classifications for 86,933 more stars. In all, 359,083 stars were classified as of August 2017.
Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming was a Scottish astronomer. During her career, she helped develop a common designation system for stars and cataloged thousands of stars and other astronomical phenomena. Among several career achievements that advanced astronomy, Fleming is noted for her discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in 1888.
Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C. Pickering, she is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, which was the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures and spectral types. She was nearly deaf throughout her career. She was a suffragist and a member of the National Women's Party.
Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that employs the principles of physics and chemistry "to ascertain the nature of the astronomical objects, rather than their positions or motions in space". Among the objects studied are the Sun, other stars, galaxies, extrasolar planets, the interstellar medium and the cosmic microwave background. Emissions from these objects are examined across all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the properties examined include luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition. Because astrophysics is a very broad subject, astrophysicists apply concepts and methods from many disciplines of physics, including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics.
Eleanor Margaret Burbidge, FRS is a British-born American astrophysicist, noted for original research and holding many administrative posts, including Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
William Lassell, was an English merchant and astronomer. He is remembered for his improvements to the reflecting telescope and his ensuing discoveries of four planetary satellites.
Charlotte Emma Moore Sitterly was an American astronomer. She is known for her extensive spectroscopic studies of the Sun and chemical elements. Her tables of data are known for their reliability and still used regularly.
Antonia Maury was an American astronomer who published an important early catalog of stellar spectra. Maury was part of the Harvard Computers, a group of female astronomers and Human Computers at the Harvard College Observatory. Winner of the Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy in 1943.
Ellen Mary Clerke was an accomplished poet, linguist and a journalist. She was the daughter of Catherine Mary Deasy, whose father was a wealthy brewer and shipbuilder in the town of Clonakilty, and John William Clerke, a bank manager of Anglo-Irish descent in Skibbereen, and later a Registrar for his brother-in-law, Richard Morgan Deasy, a High-Court Judge.
Agnes Mary Clerke was an Irish astronomer and writer, mainly in the field of astronomy. She was born in Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland, and died in London.
Sarah Frances Whiting, American physicist and astronomer, was the instructor to several astronomers, including Annie Jump Cannon.
Nebulium was a proposed element found in astronomical observation of a nebula by William Huggins in 1864. The strong green emission lines of the Cat's Eye Nebula, discovered using spectroscopy, led to the postulation that an as yet unknown element was responsible for this emission. In 1927, Ira Sprague Bowen showed that the lines are emitted by doubly ionized oxygen (O2+), and no new element was necessary to explain them.
Whitin Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Wellesley College. Built in 1900, with additions in 1906, 1967, and 20102011, it is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts and named after Wellesley College trustee Mrs. John Crane Whitin of Whitinsville, who donated the funds for the observatory. Astronomer Sarah Frances Whiting was the first director of the new Wellesley College Astronomy Department.
Nancy Grace Roman was an American astronomer and one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. Throughout her career, Roman was also an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences.
Dorothea Klumpke Roberts was an astronomer. She was Director of the Bureau of Measurements at the Paris Observatory and was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.
Dame Carole Jordan, is a British physicist, astrophysicist, astronomer and academic. From 1994 to 1996, she was President of the Royal Astronomical Society; she was the first woman to hold this appointment. She won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2005; she was only the third female recipient following Caroline Herschel in 1828 and Vera Rubin in 1996. She was head of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford from 2003 to 2004 and 2005 to 2008, and was one of the first female professors in Astronomy in Britain. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for services to physics and astronomy.
Hermann Alexander Brück CBE FRSE was a German-born astronomer who spent the great portion of his career in the United Kingdom.
The Harvard Observatory, under the direction of Edward Charles Pickering and, following his death in 1919, Annie Jump Cannon had a number of women working as skilled workers to process astronomical data. "The women were challenged to make sense of these patterns by devising a scheme for sorting the stars into categories. Annie Jump Cannon’s success at this activity made her famous in her own lifetime, and she produced a stellar classification system that is still in use today. Antonia Maury discerned in the spectra a way to assess the relative sizes of stars, and Henrietta Leavitt showed how the cyclic changes of certain variable stars could serve as distance markers in space." Among these women were Williamina Fleming, Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Florence Cushman and Antonia Maury. Although these women started primarily as calculators, they often rose to contribute to the astronomical field, and even publish in their own names. This staff came to be known as the Harvard Computers.
Mary Brück was an Irish astronomer, astrophysicist and historian of science, whose career was spent at Dunsink Observatory in Dublin and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh in Scotland.