Silent Sky - October 24 - October 25, 2020

Postville Community School District

 About Silent Sky 

The Story


When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love. The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.




Henrietta Leavitt- 30's, brilliant, meticoulous, excited- she has a strong passion for astronomy, sometimes to the detriment of her personal relationships.  Henrietta wants to be treated as an equal to her male peers.


Margaret Leavitt- 30's, homebody, creative & sweet- she is Henrietta's deeply religious sister.  Margaret is very close to her sister, but that relationship is strained as Henri pursures her career.


Peter Shaw- 30's, the head astronomer's apprentice under Dr. Pickering at the Harvard Observatory.  Peter is not the best at expressing his feelings and is a bit awkward.  He is often at odds with the women in the workroom.


Annie Cannon- 40's, terse, Head of Photometry at the observatory.  Annie is initially put off by Henri's exuberance, but grows to like her.  She later becomes a suffragette.


Williamina Fleming- 50'ssmart as whip, fun and Scottish.  She was once Dr. Pickering's maid until he brought her to the observatory to "bookkeep the stars".  She is generally pleasant, but can be quick to temper.





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