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Harvard classification Syllabification: Har·vard clas·si·fi·ca·tion
Pronunciation: /ˈhärvərd ˌklasəfəˌkāSH(ə)n/

Definition of Harvard classification in English:


A system of classification of stars based on their spectral types, the chief classes (O, B, A, F, G, K, M) forming a series from hot bluish-white stars to cool dull red stars.
Example sentences
  • Stars are given a Harvard classification according to the dominant element found in their spectra and the classes are ordered according to their surface temperature.
  • This classification is based on spectral lines sensitive to stellar surface gravity which is related to luminosity, as opposed to the Harvard classification which is based on surface temperature.
  • In 1910 Annie Jump Cannon, working under the direction of Pickering, modified the Harvard classification system taking all of the absorption lines into account.


1960s: named after the observatory at Harvard University, where it was devised.

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