Letter from the Editor
The premier issue of theWoman Astronomer had its debut on July 4th at the Astronomical Society's 50th Anniversary convention at Copper Mountain, Colo. After that, it was mailed to 25 states (from Maine to Hawaii), and to five other countries. It was widely received, by both amateur and professional, men and women, adults and children.
The response, for the most part, was favorable and encouraging. A sampling of some of the reactions to the first issue are found on the next page. Most saw the need for a publication like this and everyone wanted to see more women involved in astronomy.
What did surprise me were the reactions to the name. Perhaps I'm naive, or perhaps my communication skills need some honing. I 'm not quite sure which. The name made perfect sense to me, though, as one reader points out, it's not grammatically correct. It does seem like I'm doing a lot of explaining these days.
I've wondered many times how to clearly communicate the theme of this publication. There are perceptions and bias, there's understanding and experience, there's expectations, from the author and the reader. They all play a role in the message that's conveyed, and in how it's received. But then, language is tricky, as one word on page 8 will show.
This newsletter is about promoting astronomy; it's about the inspiring lives of women role models in astronomy, past and present; and, my personal favorite, it's about the quickly changing science, and hobby, of astronomy.
Maria Mitchell is a lesson in all of these. Her life story, as told by Lee Belserene, is indeed inspiring to those past and present. And there are some interesting tidbits to be learned from the comet she discovered and her namesake on the Moon.
There is no agenda to this publication, other than getting women and girls involved with astronomy. And, of course, to learn some science. That's fun regardless of gender.
Debra L. Davis