On May 15, 1857, Robert and Mary Walker tips cepat hamil brought Williamina Paton Stevens into this world in Dundee, Scotland. Mina, as she was recognized to those close to her, would afterwards in her life make an impact in the world of astronomy.
Little is known of Williamina's early lifestyle in Scotland. She became students teacher at age 14 while attending public college in . She continued teaching until her marriage to James Orr Fleming on May 26, 1877. A bit more than six months following the marriage, James and Williamina established sail for America, settling in Boston, Massachusetts. Soon after their arrival in the us, James abandoned his newly pregnant wife.
With family and friends thousands of miles and an ocean aside, Williamina needed a way to support herself and her unborn child Edward, who would be born in nov 1879 during a trip back again to Scotland. She found work as a maid for Edward Charles Pickering, who been the director of Harvard College Observatory.
Williamina, while functioning at the Observatory, proved was a lot more correct than even he could have imagined when coming up with that statement.
Williamina was component of a team in charge of cataloguing celebrities in what would become the Draper Catalogue of Stellar Spectra. In the nine years allocated to the project, she catalogued in excess of 10,000 stars. She is credited with the discovery of 59 gaseous nebulae, 10 novae and over 310 variable superstars, 222 of which were listed in the 1907 publication A Photographic Research of Variable Stars. Regarding the publication, a British astronomer mentioned, "Many astronomers are deservedly proud to have discovered one...the discovery of 222...can become an accomplishment bordering on the marvellous."
In 1888, while dealing with Harvard plate B2312, Williamina discovered the Horsehead Nebula (also known as IC-434) in a photo used by William Pickering, brother of Edward. She described this bright nebula as having " a semicircular indentation five minutes in diameter 30 minutes south of Zeta [Orionis]."
Williamina and William did not receive due credit for this discovery for years. JLE Dreyer, who compiled the initial Index Catalogue, taken out Williamina's name from objects listed as discovered by Harvard. Credit was given to simply "Pickering", whom a lot of people took to suggest Edward Charles. By the time the second Index Catalogue was released by Dreyer in 1908, Williamina and several of her associates were well known enough to finally have the credit they deserved.
Williamina's duties at the Observatory were extended and she found herself responsible for the "computers", a rather huge group, numbering in the dozens, of young women employed to recognize stars on the plates and calculate the positions of these stars. She was also in charge of editing all the publications that the Observatory issued. Her work became so exemplary that in 1898, she was appointed curator of astronomical photos by Harvard Corporation, the first such appointment held by a female.
In recognition of her excellent contribution to astronomy, the Royal Astronomical Culture made Williamina an honorary member in 1906, producing her the first American woman to hold such a position.