Henrietta Leavitt in Tacoronte too

Mural in honor to Henrietta Leavitt elaborated by "Sabotaje al Montaje" next to the Municipal Market The Station of Tacoronte. Credit: Elena Mora (IAC)
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With her eyes on the stars, just as when she was working in the Harvard College Observatory analysing photographic plates of the sky. This is how the inhabitants and visitors to Tacoronte will find Henrietta Leavitt in the “Station” Municipal Market Square thanks to the mural which Matías Mata of “Sabotaje al Montaje” has painted in honour of this woman astronomer from the United States.  This mural, together with the one presented yesterdayh in the Faculty of Science of the University of La Laguna (ULL) is part of a project of the IAC and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitivity, which includes activitiers such as the renewed showing of the play The Lost Honour of Henrietta Leavitt, which is programmed for showing in Tacoronte and La Laguna.

The ceremony of presentation of this second grafitto took place this morning, in the presence of Álvaro Dávila, the Mayor of the City of Tacoronte, together with several members of the city council, including Virginia Bacallado, councillor for culture, Esmeralda Estévez, councillor for Commerce and Citizen Participation, Nira Rodríguez, of Parks and Gardens, and Honorio Marichal, of Innovation. María Jesús Arévalo, coordinator of Higher Education of the IAC and Director of the Astrophysics Department of the ULL and Carmen del Puerto, Head of the Unit of Communication and Scientific Culture of the IAC, who is coordinating the project and is the author of the play, represented the IAC.

In his speech before unveiling the plaque which accompanies the mural and which explains the main achievement of this woman astronomer, Álvaro Dávila declared that “It is an honour and a source of pride that the municipality of Tacoronte has been chosen to pay tribute to this woman astronomer who invented a fundamental way of measuring astronomical distances” He also said that the site chosen for the mural was purposely selected next to the auditórium in which the play The Lost Honour of Henrietta Leavitt will receive its first showing, He went on to offer further municipal spaces in which forthcoming collaborations with the IAC can take place. 

Virginia Bacallado insisted on her backing for education and was pleased that the MunicipalAlso ity can show this painting of the american woman astronomer. She wanted to stress her personality as a women and a scientist, and the need to explain this example in those schools where social and gender inequalities are still, unfortunately, present. Also the councillor for Culture said that anybody, whether old or young, who saw the plaque which accompanies the mural “will be able to find out who this woman was, and what she did as a scientist”.

Next, María Jesús Arévalo reminded those present that the objective of the mural is, because of its location, to arouse curiosity and to point up the role of women in science, in this case in Astronomy. She also explained that the motive for presenting this tribute to Henrietta Leavitt in particular is because, in her time, her work, the invention of the fundamental method for measuring distances in the universe, was not sufficiently recognized.

The next date with Henrietta Leavitt for the neighbours of Tacoronte and for the general public will be on Saturday 21st October in the Capitol Municipal Auditorium, where the play The Lost Honour of Henrietta Leavitt will be performed. The entries will be free until the theatre is full, and they can be picked up at the box-office on the day of the performance. There will also be a dress rehearsal on the previous Friday, which will be atended by students from local schools, as previously arranged.