Silent Sky - October 24 - October 25, 2020

Postville Community School District

 About Silent Sky 



Act I


Scene 1- Outside a church in rural Wisconsin, 1900.


Scene 2- A small workroom at the Harvard Observatory, in Cambridge,               Massachusetts.


Scene 3- The workroom, 1905.


Scene 4- The workroom, late at night.


Scene 5- The Leavitt home, rural Wisconsin.


Scene 6- The Leavitt home, rural Wisconsin.



Act II


Scene 1- The workroom, December 1910.


Scene 2- An ocean liner.


Scene 3- The workroom.


Scene 4- Henrietta's home in Cambridge, 1918.


Scene 5- Harvard Observatory.



The Science


The women in the workroom are tasked with examining photograhpic glass plates of stars to measure and catalog their brightness.  They do this by using a "star spanker"- a small paddle that resembles a fly swatter.  The spanker has dots on it that indicate a star's brightness. Henri began noticing a relation between a stars brightness and its distance.


At this point in time, scientists believed that the entirety of the universe

was contained in the Milkey Way.  Through the work that Henrietta and her collegues did, scientists were able to calculate the distance actual distance between stars, which has led to our current understanding that the universe is infinite and expanding.

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