Our Own Ann Boesgaard

June, 2022
This announcement is from the University of Hawaii:

Aloha kākou!
A new book is out today, called “The Sky is for Everyone”. It features autobiographical stories from 37 women astronomers, including Ann Boesgaard. We have a UH News story posted about the book release, at 

And the book is available today to order from most retailers.
Click on that web info, picture and quote. We are all so proud of Ann. What an honor, and what an honor for us to be able to call her our classmate.
6/24/22, Now we have some more from Ann. “That book with my mini-bio is available on Amazon now. Apparently, you can read my whole chapter!!! Chapter 3 only if you go to the kindle edition and click on “Look Inside”. Here’s the first page, Making Things Work.
The pre-dawn night sky was clear.  My husband and I were on the roof of our house in Hawaii at 5 a.m. looking for Apollo 8 on December 21, 1968.  The launch was flawless; the first humans were leaving Earth and going to the Moon!  After the spacecraft had been tracked in the Florida dawn sky, the announcer, almost as a afterthought, told the TV audience that for people in Hawaii, it would take off for the Moon right over our heads.This would happen before sunrise, but Apollo 8 was at a very high altitude and would be illuminated by full sunshine.  We climbed onto our roof, lay down on the sloped wooden shingles with a clear view of the full sky.  We found the spacecraft trundling along in the southwestern sky. When it was over our house, it accelerated to 24,000 miles/hour to escape Earth’s gravity.  Watching Apollo 8 change in speed was incredible!  As it took off for the cosmos, it created a shock wave in the upper atmosphere that spread out behind the spacecraft as a huge conical yellow-orange glow.  A truly exhilarating experience!My 13-year-old self had wanted to go to the Moon, but my gender, eyesight, and lack of test pilot experience precluded that.

Dramatic changes in social norms have taken place since the 1940s and 1950s when I was growing up. Men were breadwinners and women were homemakers and child-rearers.  My father left when I was five, and my mother became a single parent long before the term was invented. After their divorce, our nuclear family consisted of me, my older sister, our mother, grandmother, and great aunt.  We lived in a five-bedroom house in a middle-class neighborhood in Rochester, NY, thanks to the generosity of my mother’s mother.  My mother, who was a math major at Vassar College, worked in the Controller’s Division of Eastman Kodak.  That household of females sent a subtle message to me that women should not depend on men to support them.

Our public grade school was two blocks from home, and we walked to school in sunshine, rain and snow.  All our teachers and the school principal were women.  At that time few women worked outside the home, and those who did were primarily teachers, nurses, and secretaries. 

In kindergarten, I learned the multiplication tables while rehearsing them with my sister as she was learning them in 3rd grade; I suspect this helped train the mathematical part of my developing brain.  A weekly science program on then-new FM radio in 5th, 6th, and 7th grades stimulated the science part. Half-hour programs on specific topics were accompanied by questions to which we could discover the answers while listening.  In addition we were given lists of activities to do; I always did all of them. 

Around the age of seven I noticed adults asked little boys what they wanted to be when they grew up, but they asked little girls how many children they wanted to have!  I became a feminist then without knowing the term.  I resented that girls in grade school had to take sewing and cooking and that we had to give the boys the products of our cookie-making class.


Comments are closed.