Henrietta Leavitt, astronomer

Silent Sky, a play by Lauren Gunderson, performed by the Arizona Theatre Company ... is about the 20th century female astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Back then astronomer Edward Charles Pickering took a large number of sky photographs and needed people to analyze them. He hired women, among them, astronomer Leavitt, a graduate of Radcliffe College, to catalogue the stars in his photographs. She studied stars in the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, dwarf galaxies visible from the southern hemisphere. She is best known for discovering a way to measure distances to the stars through her study of Cepheid stars. Her work led her to discover the relationship between the luminosity and period of Cepheid variables. Her discoveries were published in the Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College, in which she noted that the brighter variables had the longer periods. Her discovery eventually led to the establishment of the expanding universe. The period-luminosity relationship for Cepheids is known as
Leavitt’s Law. The play presents her story.

"Copyright 2020 by R-Laurraine Tutihasi. Originally published in Purrsonal
Mewsings #71,"


(no subject)

To Build a Fire and To Ignite a Fire on Enceladus are available together as an ebook:

"To Ignite a Fire on Enceladus" is an imaginative science fiction variation or update on Jack London's "To Build a Fire," a 1908 classic story for survival in the frozen terrain of the Yukon. Except now, a space miner is struggling to stay alive on an icy moon of Saturn where ...


Jack London's To Build a Fire

Seeing the promotions for the upcoming movie, Jack London's Call of the Wild, reminded me of his classic story, To Build a Fire, and the science fiction version, To Ignite a Fire on Enceladus, by Vincent Miskell. I loved the dog in this version! Both of them are available on an ebook:


Book review: Poppy

Poppy (American Dog #2) by Jennifer Li Shotz

Poppy is a sweetie, but she needs training and exercise, and her owner is recovering from an operation and can't cope with her rescued dog, which she loves. However, Hannah who lives next door and recently moved to California from Michigan and has her own problems, volunteers to help so that Poppy won't have to be returned to the shelter.

Hannah misses her friends, who knew and accepted her; the birthmark on her face bothers some people, so Hannah withdraws and wishes she could go back. Her family is supportive, but her parents are busy with work and their other children, especially the twins. Her mother tries to help Hannah find new friends, but they have their own friends--and surfing.

The dog training background is well done; I remember the training classes I took my dogs to--starting with puppy kindergarten--and I love the trainer. Hannah is sometimes on the verge of quitting--training requires patience and perseverance--but she wants to save Poppy. She makes some connections finally with other girls and their dogs, but there are distressing complications--and how can she fit in with the surfing crowd?

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Book review: Zane Grey's Wild West

Zane Grey's Wild West: A Study of 31 Novels

I teethed on Zane Grey, starting with Betty Zane (abridged version for younger readers). I probably haven't read them all, but most, I think. Anyway, I wanted to read this book as soon as I came across it. I enjoyed reading about each of the 31 novels, remembering favorite characters and stories. And horses often played an important role in these stories. There is a lot of history in many of these books, including the buffalo herds, the building of the railroads, the telegraph system, the gold rush, pioneering, Mormons, the clashes with Indian tribes as they were pushed off their lands and their children forcibly enrolled in the white man's schools, etc. I remember reading The Vanishing American and being annoyed that the hero, an Indian, was killed off at the end, even though I was halfway expecting it--being aware of the prejudice back in the day. However, I learned that the published version was not what was originally written. "... public furor dictated that Harper & Brothers demand that he make changes before they published it 1925. Nophaie could not marry ... a white woman at the end of the book." So he was killed... The original manuscript, in which he survives with a happier ending, was published in 1982 (fifty-seven years later). Fascinating book with its history and beautiful descriptions of the landscape and nature--and comparisons with Thoreau, Wordsworth, and other authors. Highly recommended.