Annie Jump Cannon

Annie Jump Cannon (December 11, 1863 – April 13, 1941) was a deaf 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.During her 44-year career, women in science won grudging acceptance, partially due to her exemplary work. She received many “firsts” (first female recipient of an honorary doctorate from Oxford, first elected woman officer of the American Astronomical Society, etc.). In 1911 she was named Curator of Astronomical Photographs at HCO. In 1938, two years before retirement, she finally obtained a regular appointment from Harvard as William C. Bond Astronomer.

To learn more about Cannon, read about her astronomical work at the telescope and spectroscope, and her mentoring of the observatoy staff.

Recommended Readings:

  • Alex McGrath. "Annie Jump Cannon: Drive and Joy." Galactic Gazette. Online Exhibit. (May 24, 2019): 

  • Lindsay Smith. “Annie Jump Cannon.” Project Continua (March, 15, 2015): Ver. 1, (20 Feb. 2018),

  • Dava Sobel. The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. New York, New York: Viking, 2016.