The first U.S. woman professor of astronomy, Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Self-taught and raised a Quaker, Mitchell celebrated the universe and the world around her.
"We especially need imagination in science. Question everything," she explained and was an inspiration for education and discovery.
On a clear night in October 1847, while looking through her father's four-inch telescope, she discovered Comet Mitchell 1847VI. As the first American to record a comet sighting, she received a gold medal by the King of Denmark and immediate international recognition.
A mentor to young women seeking careers in science and technology, she once said, "Besides learning to see, there is another art to be learned--not to see what is not."
She was the first woman admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848. A professor of astronomy at Vassar for over 20 years (1865-1888), Mitchell had a moon crater named for her.
"Do not look at stars as bright spots only," she urged. "Try to take in the vastness of the universe."
Live each moment!