Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 990-991


Hoffleit, Ellen Dorrit

  • Elliott HorchAffiliated withSouthern Connecticut State University Email author 

BornFlorence, Alabama, USA, 12 March 1907

DiedNew Haven, Connecticut, 9 April 2007

American stellar astronomer Dorrit Hoffleit is recognized within the astronomical community both for several decades of maintenance of the Bright Star Catalog and for 21 years of directorship of the Maria Mitchell Observatory [MMO]. During the summer programs at MMO, more than 100 potential future astronomers worked with her.

Hoffleit was educated in the schools of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and received a BA (cum laude, in mathematics) from Radcliffe in 1928. An interest in astronomy had developed early, when she and her mother saw the 1919 Perseid meteor shower (with an apparent collision between a Perseid and a sporadic meteor), and she eagerly accepted a position at Harvard College Observatory, initially working with Henrietta Swope on variable stars. The Harvard system encouraged observatory workers to pursue graduate studies. Hoffleit received an MA in 1932 for work on meteors with

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