Great Total Solar Eclipse of 2017!

A composite image of what the total eclipse looked like from
the Lowell Observatory in Madras, Oregon


Mary Watson Whitney (1847-1921)
Goddess of Wisdom
AAUW Member & Professor at Vassar College

On 2017 August 21, a total eclipse of the Sun was visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses the United States of America. The path of the Moon’s umbral shadow began in northern Pacific and crosses the USA from west to east through parts of the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. The Moon’s penumbral shadow produces a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering most of North America.

According to our AAUW archives, many women have contributed to our knowledge of Astronomy and the universe.  For instance, Astronomer and AAUW member and professor at Vassar College in 1861, Mary Watson Whitney (1847-1921) built the school’s Astronomy program into one of the nation’s finest.  Under her direction, the Vassar Observatory issue 102 articles. Her classmates called Mary “Pallas Ahene”, our Goddess of Wisdom. She fought against the popular notion that women could not carry on sustained scientific research.  She was a passionate mentor, specially committed to securing jobs for women trained in Astronomy and Mathematics.