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Leading from Cheadle
The Blagg armillary sphere in Cheadle, with its maker, James Plant
Image Credit: J Shears

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Mary Blagg mapped the Moon and analysed variable stars from a small town in Staffordshire, where a memorial to her work now stands.

Mary Blagg discovered astronomy in middle life, thanks to university extension lectures in her small town of Cheadle, Staffordshire, and went on to become an authority on lunar cartography and variable star analysis, despite rarely leaving home. 

The extension lecturer, Joseph Hardcastle, was active in the British Astronomical Association and suggested Blagg when a careful observerwith a keen eye for detail was needed to resolve the confusing array of lunar nomenclature into somehting approaching a definitive map. H H Turner was instrumental in producing a standard list of names alongside a map; when the project became international, Blagg took a leading role and published the results for the International Astronomical Union. The map was superceded only when the Space Age provided detailed photography. More than this, Blagg applied her sharp eye and attention to detail to the analysis of variable star data,  publishign extensively in Monthly Notices.

Find out more in Jeremy Shears' fascinating article in the October 2016 issue of A&G

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