Podcaster: Loretta Cannon for the AAS-HAD ; Guest: Dr. Sethanne Howard

Title: H’ad astra historia Episode 101: Women in Science History

Organization: Historical Astronomy Division, American Astronomical Society



H’ad astra historia is the official podcast for the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society.  We’re here to share stories from and about the people who study the stars, planets, and the cosmos.  We’ll be hearing from individuals who not only study the history of astronomy, but also those who lived it, who were “in the room” during pivotal events within the last 50 years or so.  

Today’s guest:  Dr. Sethanne Howard talks about Women in Science History, including En’Hedu’anna – the first astronomer whose name and work we know – who lived 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia.

Podcast music: “Frost Waltz” Kevin MacLeod (, licensed under creative commons: by attribution 4.0 license (

Bio:Loretta Cannon, an AAS affiliate via Rose City Astronomers, is a member of the leadership committee for the Historical Astronomy Division (2023-2025). She is a polymath with degrees in anthropology, microbiology, and biochemistry, and has many years of experience in both the private sector and government. When not reading some of her way-too-many books, she watches BritBox, creates recipes, or plays in the garden. She chose science writing/editing in astronomy as a new career. In short, she’s a sciencephile-word-nerd-foodie-with-a-plant-habit who really likes the stars.

Today’s sponsor:  Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month:  Paul M. Sutter, Chris Nealen, Frank Frankovic, Frank Tippin, Jako Danar, Michael Freedman, Nik Whitehead, Rani Bush, Ron Diehl, Steven Emert, Brett Duane, Don Swartwout, Vladimir Bogdanov, Steven Kluth, Steve Nerlich, Phyllis Foster, Michael W, James K Wood, Katrina Ince, Cherry Wood.

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Rather than provide a complete transcript, we’re sharing links for further reading for the topics or names you’ve heard in today’s episode:  “Women in Science History”

Whirlpool galaxy (M51):

Dr. Sethanne Howard’s PhD dissertation (on ADS):……..12H/abstract

Dr. Howard’s website:

Hertzsprung-Russell diagram:

US Nautical Almanac Office publications:

First writing – Cuneiform in Sumer 3000 BCE:

En’Hedu’ana, Astronomer-Priestess: and

Princess, Priestess, Poet The Sumerian Temple Hymns of Enheduanna by Betty De Shong Meador:

Aganice of Egypt:,on%20astronomy%20and%20natural%20philosophy

Theano of Croton:

Golden Ratio   a+b/a  =  a/b:

Hypatia: and

Library of Alexandria:


Carl Sagan’s COSMOS:

Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater:

COBE – Cosmic Background Explorer spacecraft:

1994 AAS announcement of recent COBE results – black body curve (if this isn’t the correct citation, the fault is entirely mine – ljc):…185.5711S/abstract and…436..423B

blackbody radiation:,temperature%20of%20approximately%205800%20Kelvin

Fritz Zwicky;

Fritz Zwicky reported existence of ‘dunkle kalte materie, 1933:…525C.297O

Vera Rubin and Kent Ford – flat galaxy rotation curves:,forward%20in%20terms%20of%20quality and

Gaia space telescope:

Plank mission:

Cosmic Microwave Background:

International Ultraviolet Explorer:

Gemini telescopes: and,most%20advanced%20optical%2Finfrared%20telescopes

Compton Gamma Ray Observatory: and

Very Large Telescope (VLT):

Orion nebula: and an article about Sethanne Howard’s work by Joan Schmelz on the AAS’ website for Women in Astronomy in which Sethanne relates working at Lick Observatory in the 1960s

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