For centuries, astronomy was a craft practice that could be carried out without having been to university. Although largely invisible in the historical records, women often worked with their brothers, fathers or husbands. Their time-consuming tasks included polishing the lenses and mirrors used for making telescopes, recording observations, and performing the mathematical calculations needed to transform raw data into star maps and catalogues. After photographic techniques were introduced in the mid-19th century, laboratories employed women working at home to analyse the plates.