The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Phoebe Waterman Haas
This observatory is named to celebrate the spirit of Emma Phoebe Waterman Haas. In 1913 she became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley. She was the first woman to perform original research with a major American telescope. Haas used one of the greatest telescopes in the world at the time, the 36-inch refractor of Lick Observatory. She studied the spectra of relatively hot stars. Although she was then invited to continue as a professional astronomer, she chose to marry and raise a family.
But Haas never lost her love for astronomy. She used a telescope to show her young sons the wonders of the heavens. With that telescope, she monitored stars that varied in brightness. She shared her observations with other astronomers through the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). She remained active in the AAVSO over the next several decades through her astronomical expertise and as a patron. In a 1941 letter to AAVSO, she shared her joy of observing:
The Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory is funded by the Thomas W Haas Foundation with the hope that your visit will kindle in you the same spirit of exploration and discovery.
Erected by Smithsonian Institution.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Education • Women. A significant historical year for this entry is 1913.
Location. 38° 53.273′ N, 77° 1.112′ W. Marker is in The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker can be reached from Independence Avenue Southwest west of 4th Street Southwest, on the right when traveling west. On the grounds of the National Air and Space Museum on the side of the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20597, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Venus (here, next to this marker); Moon (here, next to this marker); Saturn (here, next to this marker); Sun (here, next to this marker); Jupiter (here, next to this marker); Cook Telescope (here, next to this marker); Binary Stars (here, next to this marker); Star Nurseries (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 12, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 189 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on February 15, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 12, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.