Women astronomers subject of festival talks



BAR HARBOR — The keynote presentation of the Acadia Night Sky Festival, from science writer Dava Sobel, is set for The Criterion Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 6:30 p.m. She will tell stories from her most recent book, “The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars.”

“The Glass Universe” tells the story of the women who worked at the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. Observatory director Edward Pickering hired them because he believed women were careful workers – and would accept lower pay than men. In the course of their labors, the women helped discover the substance of the stars and the distances to them. The classifications they developed are still used today.

Sobel also is a former New York Times science reporter and the author of “Longitude,” “Galileo’s Daughter,” “The Planets” and “A More Perfect Heaven.” She is the co-author of six books, including “Is Anyone Out There?” with astronomer Frank Drake.

She has been a regular contributor to “Harvard Magazine,” “Audubon,” “Discover,” “Life,” “Omni,” “The New Yorker” and “Aeon.” She has won awards from the National Science Board, the Boston Museum of Science and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for increasing public understanding of science.

Immediately following the presentation, from 8-10 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with Sobel, as well as other festival presenters, astronomers and Acadia Night Sky Festival volunteers. Admission is free.

Festivalgoers will have another chance to meet Sobel at a lunch gathering at Galyn’s on Main Street in Bar Harbor on Saturday at noon. The luncheon costs $35 per person and is limited to 40 diners.

On Sunday at 1 p.m., Sobel will give a talk about her work at the Jesup Memorial Library.

Copies of her books will be on sale that day courtesy of Sherman’s Books.

Visit acadianightskyfestival.com.

 

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