Actors’ Mission to Perform ‘Silent Sky’

Actors’ Mission to Perform ‘Silent Sky’

Members of Actors' Mission practice their lines for the upcoming performance of "Silent Sky."

ROCK SPRINGS — Actors’ Mission’s “Silent Sky” by Lauren Gunderson celebrates the work of pioneer astronomer Henrietta Leavitt” by Daniel Bendtsen.

Until Leavitt, many astronomers guessed the universe was no bigger than the Milky Way. Prior to her work, astronomers could only measure distances up to a few hundred light-years. When astronomers looked through their telescopes they assumed the images of other galaxies were mere gas clouds.

Then, while cataloging star locations for Harvard at the turn of the 20th century, Leavitt discovered that certain stars, called Cepheids, pulsate for a duration that correlates to their luminosity. By comparing that data to the Cepheids’ apparent magnitude, astronomers could determine how far away each star was. 

Advertisement - Story continues below...

Another astronomer, Edwin Hubble, later used Leavitt’s data to determine that the universe is expanding. Leavitt’s pioneering work enabled the scientific community to determine the size of the Milky Way and measure distances more than 20 million times farther than were previously possible.

Actors’ Mission is proud to present Leavitt’s story in its next production, “Silent Sky,” which premieres next week. The play tells the story of how Leavitt overcame obstacles, like family obligations and sexism (women weren’t allowed to use telescopes during her time at Harvard), to help upend her contemporaries’ understanding of the universe.

“Silent Sky” will be performed at the Broadway Theater starting January 19, 20, 21, 26, and 27 at 7 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. and closing on January 29 with a 2 p.m. matinee.