Astronomer, (1818-1889)

She was the first professor of astronomy in the US who was a woman. This remarkable woman was the most famous American scientist of the 19th century. She studied first with her father and then learned from books in the Nantucket Atheneum where she was librarian. Her accomplishments are legion:

1847 -- discovered the comet of 1847 - Comet Mitchell 1847VI
1848 -- appointed the first woman to the Academy of Arts and Sciences
1853 -- awarded the first advanced degree given to a woman - from Indiana Hanover College.
1859 -- awarded the Medal of Merit from Switzerland and the Republic of San Moreno
1865 -- appointed to the American Philosophical Society
1865 -- appointed the first woman to the faculty of Vassar
1875 -- elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Women

The Maria Mitchell Observatory was established next to her home. It is still operational today. Visit it if you can. It is on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts. The island is accessible by plane and by ferry boat. The Mitchell House where she was born is a historic house museum open to the public June 15-Aug.31. It is part of the Maria Mitchell Association. If you would like further information, you can contact Mara Alper - There is a documentary, "Maria Mitchell: Explorer of the Stars" which is available through the Maria Mitchell Association.

Besides learning to see, there is another art to be learned -- not to see what is not

The eye that directs the needle in the delicate meshes of embroidery will equally well bisect a star with the spider web of the micrometer. M. Mitchell

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