As a female astronomer, Henrietta Leavitt was not allowed to touch a telescope.

Avila Theater tells story of Henrietta Leavitt in “Silent Sky”

Decades before NASA and the female scientists celebrated in the movie “Hidden Figures,” there was Henrietta Leavitt. A female “computer,” Leavitt was an astronomer who wasn’t allowed to use a telescope because she was a woman.

Avila Theater students will perform Leavitt’s story in  “Silent Sky” which run Thursday, February 21 to Sunday, February 24 at the Goppert Theater, 119th and Wornall.

A graduate of Radcliffe College, Leavitt worked at the Harvard College Observatory as a “computer”, tasked with examining photographic plates in order to measure and catalog the brightness of stars. This work led her to discover the relation between the luminosity and the period of Cepheid variables. Though she received little recognition in her lifetime, Leavitt’s discovery provided astronomers with the first “standard candle” with which to measure the distance to faraway galaxies.

Silent Sky is directed by Sidonie Garrett! The show runs Thursday, February 21st at 7:30pm to Sunday, February 24th at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, by calling 816-501-3699, or through the Avila University theatre website.

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