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Lab Coats and Lace - Annie Russell Maunder, (1868-1947), Torch-bearing Woman Astronomer

  • 2 March 2019

One of a selection of women featured in "Lab Coats and Lace, the lives and legacies of inspiring Irish women scientists and pioneers"

The first professional women astronomers in Ireland or Britain were the 'lady computers' employed at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in the 1890s. Strabane-born Annie Dill Russell Maunder went on to become a renowned observer and photographer of solar eclipses, and an expert in sunspots. The 70-year calm period in the 17th century when sunspots were scarce is today known as the "Maunder minimum" after Annie and her husband Walter, who confirmed that when sunspots are scarce, there are few if any magnetic disturbances and displays of the northern lights.