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October 2007

theWoman Astronomer, Where Woman Are The Stars!
Reaching 104,043 visitors in the past 12 months!

Our mission is to promote astronomy as a hobby and science, to encourage women and girls interested in astronomy, and to be a resource to the astronomy community and the public at large.


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In This Issue:

1.) Publisher's Desk For October 2007
2.) Musings: Adopt-A-Mission
3.) Letters To The Editor
4.) Feature Article: Interview with Dr. Debra Fischer, Planet-Hunter
5.) Ask Urania: What is astronomy?
6.) Cosmic Campus: Website Review: theWoman Astronomer, by Kathryn Piorkowski
7.) Links
8.) Woman Astronomer Wanted

9.) Call for Submissions

For easier clicking, read this issue online at:


What's New!


Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, by Danica McKellar. August 2007. Hudson Street Press, New York.

Where was this book when I was taking middle school math? If there had been a book like this around back then, there is a very good possibility I would have enjoyed math a whole more. I always felt that math was just a puzzle to be solved. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite understand the language.

Danica McKellar is a young actress best known for her roles on the television series The Wonder Years and West Wing. She is also an “internationally recognized mathematician” and co-author of a physics theorem, the Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem. She began promoting math to girls in 2000.

This charming book translates math into girl-talk and offers easy tricks and anecdotes for solving prime numbers and factorization, finding the greatest common factor, fractions, and how to solve word problems, to name a few. Each chapter has a theme that any young girl can relate to and then translate into a math solution that will make sense to her, such as “What Every Savvy Shopper Should Know: All About Decimals” and “How to Entertain Yourself While Babysitting a Devil Child: Converting Decimals to Fractions.”

Every chapter contains definitions of math terms, quick notes, what to watch out for, how to do the math, and “Step-By-Step in Action.” There are also testimonials and notes from girls sharing their thoughts about math. For extra help not covered in the book, girls can visit McKellar’s website at www.mathdoesntsuck.com.

theWoman Astronomerhighly recommends Math Doesn’t Suck. It is an entertaining read and demystifies math. If you have a young girl in your life who is struggling with mathematics, buy this book!

This book are available at Amazon.com. Support theWoman Astronomer by clicking through to Amazaon.com from our site:



1. Publisher's Desk

FOR SALE: Comets II, by Richard P. Binzel (Forward), Michael C. Festou, H. U. Keller, Harold A. Weaver (Editors). Hardcover, 745 pages. University of Arizona Space Science Series, November 2004. $68.00.

FOR SALE: Asteroids III, by Richard P. Binzel (Author), William F. Bottke, Alberto Cellino, Paolo Paolicchi (Editors). Hardcover, 785 pages. University of Arizona Press, December 2002. $76.00.

I bought both of these books for a planetary science class. They were recommended, but not required and I did not use them. They are in new condition and the price listed is 20% off of list price. If interested, please send me an email to saturna2@earthlink.net. Shipping is included.

2. Musings


We live in a wonderful age of astronomy, witnesses to our adventuress first steps out into the black void of space. No longer confined by the myopic view from our beautiful blue planet, we are finally meeting the rest of our solar system neighbors up close and personal.

On August 4, the Phoenix Mars Mission launched from Cape Canaveral, beginning its 10-month flight to our red neighbor...

Read the rest of my musing here:



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3. Letters to the Editor

We are both high school teachers of chemistry and physics and also amateur astronomers - till now, we have sent a total of more than thirty thousand variable star observations to the AAVSO. Perhaps, it could interest you to know that we've done some research about Antonia Maury (because she was an astronomer, a woman and also a Portuguese descendent)...

Read the rest of the posted Letters to the Editor at:




Astronomy Technology Today, the definitive “astro equipment rag,” is a new monthly magazine that debuted this Spring and is offering an introductory annual subscription price of $12. The price is good through August 31. To subscribe go to:



4. Feature Article

Interview with Dr. Debra Fischer, Planet-Hunter

"As soon as the Sun set, I opened the camera shutter and began collecting starlight...This became a personal quest - me against the star.”

Dr. Debra Fischer began hunting planets orbiting around other stars as a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently a professor of astronomy at San Francisco State University and continues her quest for worlds around distant stars. She was featured in Timothy Ferris' recent PBS film, "Seeing in the Dark." Dr. Fischer is an amazing astronomer and an incredible woman. She took some time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her research and her life as a woman astronomer.

Read the entire article here:





Featuring SkyWatcher Tours. See the 2008 eclipse in Mongolia, or the aurora in Alaska, or go to the Southern Skies Star Party.

For more details, go to:



5. Ask Urania

This month the goddess of Sky and Light answers the question...

What is astronomy?

To read the Muse’s reply, go to:

6. Cosmic Campus

Website Review: theWoman Astronomy, by Kathryn Piorkowski.

"With the North Star as a guide, you will never be lost." Regina Jachim Goles (1909-2003). Advice Kathryn received from her mother.

Kathy Goles Piorkowski's love of astronomy started when her mother first showed her how to find Polaris. From there it was a short step to Orion and a long journey of promoting astronomy, especially to young girls, as an amateur astronomer. Kathy is currently a student at Northern Illinois University, completing her course work toward a Bachelor of General Studies. Her paper was for a "Women in Science" class. Kathy’s grade on this assignment was 50 points out of 50!

Read the entire story here:




"Science Educators Under the Stars: Amateur Astronomers Engaged in Education and Public Outreach," (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2007), paperback, 120 pages. Edited by Michael G. Gibbs, Marni Berendsen, and Martin Storksdieck. Foreword by Terry Mann. Contributing authors: Marni Berendsen, Michael Gibbs, Jim Kaler, Judy Koke, David Levy, Mike Reynolds, Scott Roberts, Tim Slater, Martin Storksdieck, and Dan Zevin.

"Science Educators Under the Stars: Amateur Astronomers Engaged in Education and Public Outreach" is the first comprehensive treatise of the amateur astronomer's role in communicating knowledge and passion about astronomy to the public. The book reviews the topic from many angles: it characterizes the nature of education and public engagement with astronomy that amateur astronomers are currently doing; it features projects and organizations that support and aid these practices; it discusses the potential impact on the public and on astronomy and amateur astronomers; and it embeds these pieces into a larger framework of astronomy education as a whole. The book also provides a summary of research conducted on amateur astronomers engaging in education and public outreach along with presenting new research findings on women in astronomy.

The book is $10 + postage and is available this September through the ASP's ASTRO Shop located online at http://www.astrosociety.org/aspbook.html (product number BO 432).

Astronomical Society of the Pacific, an international nonprofit scientific and educational organization founded in 1889 that works to increase the understanding and appreciation of astronomy.


7. Links

We’ve updated our Links page and added some new sites we hope you will find interesting.

Go here to find sites of women astronomers, reports about the status of women in astronomy, and organizations and businesses:



Quality Roll-Off Observatory Plans, Kits and Telescope Piers

SkyShed POD (Personal Observatory Dome) is an evolutionary, affordable, dome observatory designed for a broad range of amateur astronomers, from the ‘lone wolf’ observer to the entire observing family.


8. Woman Astronomer Wanted

The following positions are listed as a public service and were obtained from the e-newsletter of the American Astronomical Society's division of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA).

+Tenure Track Astronomy Position at Haverford College
+Submillimeter Array Postdoctoral Fellowships
+Tenure-Track Assistant Professor Position, Western Washington University
+Faculty Position, Physics/Astronomy, Michigan State University +Openings, Dept. of Physics, NC State University
+AIP Fellowship Announcement
+Chandra Fellowships
+Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Dept. of Physics, Baylor University
+Fellowships Focus on Gender/Women in STEM Fields

See the entire list with details here:


Please consider supporting theWoman Astronomer by advertising your positions on this page. Click here to visit our advertising page:


9. Call for Submissions

Have you written a paper on astronomy, planetary science, women in astronomy? Would you like to share it with our readers? Shelby Cook, a 10th grade student, did and the professional astronomers loved it!

Are you an amateur astronomer? A professional? A student? Are you doing some interesting research you would like to share? Send us an email with a brief summary of your proposal to saturna2@earthlink.net for consideration.

Thank you!


theWoman Astronomer
PO Box 36011
Tucson, AZ 85740-6011
Voice 520.203.4412
Debra L. Davis, Publisher


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