Maria Mitchell

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Occupation: Astronomer

Birth: August 1, 1818 Death: June 28, 1889

Place of birth: Nantucket, Massachusetts
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Known for:
  • Discovering a new comet

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Science explained:
  • She was an American astronomer who discovered a new comet using a telescope.
  • She discovered the comet on Oct. 1 1847 at 10:30pm.
  • Her comet was named C/1847 T1. It became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet”.

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  • Maria worked as a teaching assistant at her father school.
  • She opened her own school in 1835.
  • One year later she became the first librarian at the Nantucket Public library.
  • In 1849, she worked at the US Nautical Almanac Office studying the positions of Venus.
  • In 1865, she became professor of astronomy at Vassar College.

Did you Know?:
  • Maria Mitchell got a gold medal for her discovery.
  • She became world famous when she made her discovery.
  • She was related to Benjamin Franklin.
  • At 12½ , she helped her dad calculate the exact moment of an annular eclipse.
  • She was inducted into the US Women’s Hall of Fame.
  • She was the first American woman to work as a professional Astronomer.

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Access Science citation: Access Science
And Maria Mitchell citation: Anderson Dale, Maria Mitchell. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003. Print.
Science Biographies citation: Education Grolier, Science Biographies. Danbury Connecticut: Grolier Education, 1997. Print.