The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum announced that it will receive a $6 million donation from the Thomas W. Haas Foundation to establish an endowment for its Public Observatory Program. It is the largest donation ever given to the museum for science education programming.
The gift is in memory of Phoebe Waterman Haas (pictured), the grandmother of the foundation’s president, Thomas W. Haas. Phoebe Haas, who received her doctorate in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1913, was among the first American women to earn such a degree. She is believed to be the first woman astronomer to conduct her own telescopic research and not rely on the observations of others. She studied at the historic Lick Observatory near San Jose, Calif.
To recognize the gift, the museum has renamed the observatory the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory.
Photo obtained from John C. Haas by Thomas R. Williams, courtesy of The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).
Image Number: WEB13045-2013