"When it comes to
astronomy, you never come to the end of anything. You have to reach out farther and farther into the universe. If it's
infinite, then there is no limit."
Note: In April 2007, astronomy lost one of its brightest stars with the passing of Dorrit Hoffleit. She was 100. Below are a few web sites with this sad news, some from her friends and colleagues.
Life of Dorrit Hoffleit
The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) has published the autobiography of Dr. Dorrit Hoffleit, Senior Research Astronomer Emeritus for Yale University and Director Emeritus for Maria Mitchell Observatory.
Dr. Hoffleit's autobiography, Misfortunes as Blessings in Disguise: The Story of My Life, tells of her experiences from a long career in the world of astronomy. The book is a walk through her life beginning with parentage, Pennsylvania and "only a girl". It moves through her years at Cambridge and Harvard, "war work", Shapley, life in Nantucket, and then on to the "difficult decade" at Yale. Her story ends with "an honorary grandmother" and other honors.
Today, in her nineties, Dr. Hoffleit continues to be active in the world of astronomy. She is a role model for all astronomers, male and female and is known around the world as an "expert on variable stars, astrometry, and the history of astronomy." Now in its fifth revision, her work on the Bright Star Catalog continues to be a valuable reference to astronomers.
Misfortunes as Blessings in Disguise: The Story of My Life is available for purchase online from the AAVSO. Go to www.variablestars.com. Be sure to check out the sample chapters and the table of contents.
To read more about Dorrit Hoffleit, check out these sites:
AAVSO is a non-profit organization compiling data on variable stars provided by professional and amateur observers from around the world. These data are used by professional astronomers for observing programs with Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT).