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DE Annie Jump Cannon Classifying the Stars


The United States Mint American Innovation $1 Coin Program is a multi-year series honoring innovation and innovators with $1 coins from each State, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands. The American Innovation $1 Coins  have uncirculated finishes and were minted at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. Delaware is the first of four coins that were released in the first year. It features Annie Jump Cannon, a Delaware-born internationally recognized astronomer who invented a system for classifying the stars still in use today.

The American Innovation $1 Coin representing Delaware honors internationally recognized astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, who invented a system for classifying the stars still used today. Despite a hearing impairment, she advanced her education, gained recognition as a pioneer in science, and became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Oxford University.

Cannon was born on December 11, 1863, in Dover, Delaware. Her father, Wilson Cannon, was a state senator, while her mother, Mary Jump, taught Annie the constellations at a young age and ignited her interest in the stars. Cannon graduated from Wellesley College, where she studied physics and astronomy.

In 1896, Cannon was hired as an assistant at Harvard Observatory under astronomer E. C. Pickering. She joined a group of female astronomers nicknamed “Pickering’s Women,” who worked to document and empirically classify stars. As she began her work, Cannon found the conventional systems of classification to be ineffective for her purposes. She combined two known models to create her own system based on the spectral characteristics of stars and personally classified more than 225,000 stars. Cannon worked as an astronomer until just weeks before her death in 1941 at the age of 77.

The reverse design features a silhouette of Annie Jump Cannon against the night sky, with a number of stars visible. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “ANNIE JUMP CANNON,” “CLASSIFYING THE STARS,” and “DELAWARE.”

The obverse design features a dramatic representation of the Statue of Liberty in profile with the inscriptions “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “$1.” The design also includes a privy mark of a stylized gear, representing industry and innovation. The edge-incused inscriptions are “2019,” mint mark, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

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