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The astronomer Mary Watson Whitney, known for work on variable stars and using photographic plates to make astronomical measurements, was born in 1847.

Whitney was one of Maria Mitchell’s first students, and succeeded her as director of Vassar's Observatory and chair of its astronomy department. She served for 22 years, during which time the department published over 100 papers in major journals. Near the end of her tenure there were 160 students enrolled in the program.

Image: Vassar

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