Maria Mitchell

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Maria Mitchell, painting by H. Dasell in 1851.

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) was one of the first famous female astronomers. She was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and went to private schools in her life. Her love for astronomy began when her father began maintaining a small observatory. The accomplishment that brought her international recognizition was when she discovered a telescopic comet in October of 1847. The year after she became the first women elected at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Afterwards she became professor of astronomy at Vassar College in 1865 and stayed there until she retired in 1888.