Williamina Fleming

Ever wonder who discovered the Horsehead Nebula? An amazingly talents Scottish lady named Williamina Fleming. She was born in Dundee, Scotland. She had a talent in mathematics and was a teacher before she moved to Boston, Massachusetts. It was there that she did her important astronomical work.

Horsehead Nebula

In 1881 she began working at Harvard College Observatory. Fleming was meticulously examining data in photometry. She created a classification system for the stars. Truly, groundbreaking work!

In 1890 the college published the Henry Draper Catalog. It included 10,000 stars, almost all of of these classifications was done by Fleming. Her attention to detail and irreproachable work ethic are second to none.

So, in 1888 Fleming was examining a telescope-photogrammetry plate made by astronomer W. H. Pickering. This was where she discovered the Horsehead Nebula.

The next time you are out at night looking up at the stars, remember to thank Williamina Fleming for all her hard work identifying and those lights in the sky.



Letter to the Editor

This is a lovely letter sent to us by one of our wonderful and appreciative readers.

Dear John,

We’ve enjoyed the Scotia News over many issues – when it arrives we feel our kinsfolk from across the ocean are with us. The kettle is on, the connections are always there. So thank you for all you do to keep folk connected. The jig-saw puzzle has taken on a whole new meaning, especially as winter evenings during childhood were often spent leaning over a 1,000 piece puzzle!

As many folk face the disappointment of not being able to visit the ‘Old Country’ or to get to a good ceilidh or share some songs, I hope your readers will enjoy a visit with us via a ceilidh we held during ‘lockdown’. We missed the weekly folk clubs, and so the Edinburgh Folk Club decided we’d hold one online – and since lockdown was no laughing matter for anyone, we’d only have humorous songs – so we sent out an email saying ‘nae dreich songs allowed!’. There was a great response, so we’d like to share the ceilidh with your readers – come visit us, relax and join in the chorus.

The concert was (and is)) free to everyone, though we’d like to help other musicians who have lost their livelihood as a result of all the cancellations. We’d love you to ‘come to the ceildh’ and you can also when you get the book, Scottish Domestic Bliss 2020 Lockdown – all contributions go to the fund, which has already saved several young musicians from eviction.)

We’re all in this together and musicians who are struggling will really appreciate your support and look forward to welcoming you back to Scotland.

With very warmest wishes,

Margaret Bennett

Grace Notes Scotland
Scottish Charity number SC040434

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