Daily Telescope: One of the few astronomical objects named after a woman

Photo of author
Written By Sedoso Feb

Enlarge / The Jones 1 Nebula.
Michal Mlynarczyk
Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We’ll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we’re going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

Good morning. It’s December 12, and today’s photo comes to us from Michal Mlynarczyk in the Holy Cross Mountains, Poland. The subject of Michal’s image is the lovely Jones 1 nebula.

This faint nebula was found in 1941 by an American astronomer named Rebecca “Becky” Jones using photographic plates. Its name, Jones 1, is notable because relatively few astronomical objects are named after women, and this is one of the first. Jones made her career as an assistant to other more “notable” astronomers of the day, including Harlow Shapley and Wallace Eckert.

Jones must have been a talented assistant because she worked at a few world-class facilities, including Lick Observatory beginning in 1927, the Harvard Observatory with Shapley, and later the Watson Scientific Laboratory in New York City. The best information I could find on Jones, who is fairly obscure on even the Internet of today, is from a Wayback Machine archived page from Columbia University.

Her relative obscurity is a reminder that this planetary nebula, located about 2,300 light-years away from Earth, will outlive us all, as well as any remnant memories of us.

Source: Michal Mlynarczyk

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