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Maria João Brito

NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal

Capturing the Universe, Under a Victorian Canopy of Stars - Pioneering Women in American and British Astrophotography: Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) and Thereza Dillwyn Llewelyn (1834-1926)

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The American astronomer Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) and the British astronomer Thereza Mary Story-Maskelyne, neé Dillwyn Llewelyn, (1834-1926) are both regarded as pioneers in their fields of interest, such as astronomy and photography. Maria Mitchell was the first woman to lecture astronomy and Thereza’s telescopic moon photograph taken, in 1855, in cooperation with her father John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1810-1832) is considered groundbreaking. The primary aim of the present article is to analyze the contribution of Maria Mitchell and Thereza Dillwyn Llewelyn in Astrophotography. The first part presents a brief chronology of lunar photography, the second part examines Maria Mitchell’s and the Dillwyn Llewelyn family history, both Quakers and this inheritance in their scientific interest and education. The final part looks closely at Maria and Thereza’s scientific contribution. Due to Maria Mitchell and Thereza Story-Maskelyne’s unique scientific contribution, for women in the Victorian Era, their experiences extended onwards in observational astronomy and astronomical photography.

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