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Star Notes (Project PHaEDRA)

Recommended for Ages: 14 and up

Badges: Citizen Scientist, Space & the Past


Be a citizen-scientist! In this activity, help transcribe the groundbreaking work of early women astronomers.

Download this activity as a PDF. 


You Will Need

  • A strong internet connection




This initiative is called Project PHaEDRA. It was created by the Wolback Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. PHaEDRA stands for Preserving Harvard’s Early Data and Research in Astronomy. 


The notebooks of the Harvard Computers and early Harvard astronomers have been digitized. These include the work of Williamina Fleming, Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and many others.


“The goal of the project is to catalog, digitize, transcribe, and create metadata for over 2,500 notebooks produced by early 20th century women computers at the Harvard College Observatory” (Zooniverse). Project PHaEDRA will use the transcriptions to link the notebooks back to their original source material: 500 000 glass plate photographs representing the first ever pictures of the visible universe.



Learn about the astronomers before you begin transcribing their notebooks.


Williamina Fleming


Dorrit Hoffleit


Annie Jump Cannon


Interested in learning more about Harvard Computers and the early Harvard astronomers? Explore their library here.



Join the international community of citizen-scientists and start transcribing here:

Or here:



Want to complete this task towards collecting a Wondernauts badge? Tell us what you learned while transcribing notes from early Harvard astronomers.

Ready to post? Head here!

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