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Encyclopedia > Antonia Maury

Antonia Caetana De Paiva Pereira Maury (March 21, 1866 - January 8, 1952) was an American astronomer.


Maury was born in Cold Spring_on_Hudson, New York. She was the grandaughter of J. W. Draper and niece of Henry Draper, both pioneering astronomers.


Maury was educated at Vassar College, graduating in 1887. She was employed at Harvard College Observatory (HCO), where she observed stellar spectra and published a catalogue of classifications in 1897 (Spectra of Bright Stars Photographed with the 11-inch Draper Telescope as part of the Henry Draper Memorial, Annals of Harvard College Observatory, vol. 28, pp.1-128). Edward Charles Pickering, Director of HCO at the time, disagreed with her system of classification and explanation of differing line widths, and she left HCO.


Ejnar Hertzsprung, however, realized the value of her classifications and used them in his system of identifying giant and dwarf stars.


In 1908, Maury returned to HCO where she remained for many years. Her most famous work there was the spectroscopic analysis of the binary star Beta Lyrae, published in 1933 (The Spectral Changes of Beta Lyrae, Annals of Harvard College Observatory, vol. 84, no. 8).


In 1943, Maury was awarded the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy by the American Astronomical Society.






  Results from FactBites:
 
SJSU Virtual Museum (153 words)
Maury developed a system for classifying stars that utilized the spectral lines, their widths, and sharpness as a means of classifying stars.
Maury's system of star classification was later adopted by Ejnar Hertzsprung and became the basis of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, which is the cornerstone of modern stellar astrophysics.
Antonia Maury died in 1952 at the age of 86.
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