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Frances Woodworth Wright; Instructor in Celestial Navigation

August 02, 1989

Frances Woodworth Wright, 92, a Harvard University astronomer who taught celestial navigation to Navy officers. During more than half a century of research and teaching, Miss Wright's studies ranged from investigating specks of cosmic dust called spherules to calculating the brightness of galaxies and developing efforts to observe comets and meteors. Her special interest was celestial navigation, the guiding of ships by the stars. Among her students were Army engineers and Navy officers enrolled in special courses during World War II. She also taught Harvard undergraduates and weekend sailors and wrote three books on sailing by the stars. Miss Wright taught astronomy and mathematics at Elmira College in New York before going to Harvard in 1928 to serve as an assistant to a succession of prominent astronomers, including Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Harlow Shapley and Fred Whipple. In Cambridge, Mass., on Sunday.

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