Maria Mitchell

About Maria Mitchell

Who is it?: Astronomer
Birth Day: August 01, 1818
Birth Place: Nantucket, United States
Died On: June 28, 1889(1889-06-28) (aged 70)\nLynn, Massachusetts,\nUnited States
Birth Sign: Virgo
Known for: Discovery of C/1847 T1 First female U.S. professional astronomer
Awards: King of Denmark's Cometary Prize Medal, 1848
Fields: Astronomy
Institutions: Nautical Almanac Office, Vassar College, Vassar College Observatory

Maria Mitchell Net Worth

Maria Mitchell was bornon August 01, 1818 in Nantucket, United States, is Astronomer. Maria Mitchell was a 19th century American astronomer, credited to be the first professional female astronomer in the United States. Distantly related to the renowned polymath, Benjamin Franklin, she was born into an open-minded Quaker family. Her parents believed in educating women and encouraged young Maria’s early intellectual pursuits. She grew up in a community where she was surrounded by independent-minded women and she too developed into a strong-willed and intelligent woman. Her father was a school principal and, at home he taught her astronomy using his personal telescope. She developed a passion for astronomy and discovered that she was naturally skilled in this subject. She was not even 13 when she helped her father in calculating the exact moment of an annular eclipse. A few years later she discovered a comet which eventually became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet". This discovery of hers made her popular and she earned worldwide fame for being one of the few women to have ever discovered a comet. As the country’s first professional female astronomer, she was much respected and also served in several prestigious academic positions. In addition to being an astronomer she was also a feminist who believed in equal rights for all irrespective of gender or race
Maria Mitchell is a member of Scientists

💰 Net worth: $1 Million

Some Maria Mitchell images

Biography/Timeline

1835

Her father's school closed, and afterwards she attended Unitarian minister Cyrus Peirce's school for young ladies. Later, she worked for Peirce as his teaching assistant before she opened her own school in 1835. She made the decision to allow nonwhite children to attend her school, a controversial move as the local public school was still segregated at the time. One year later, she was offered a job as the first librarian of the Nantucket Atheneum, where she worked for 20 years.

1843

In 1843, she left the Quaker faith and followed Unitarian principles. In protest against slavery, she stopped wearing clothes made of cotton. She was friends with various Suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and co-founded the American Association for the Advancement of Women in 1873.

1847

Using a telescope, she discovered "Miss Mitchell's Comet" (Comet 1847 VI, modern designation is C/1847 T1) on October 1, 1847, at 10:30 pm. Some years previously, King Frederick VI of Denmark had established gold medal prizes to each discoverer of a "telescopic comet" (too faint to be seen with the naked eye). The prize was to be awarded to the "first discoverer" of each such comet (note that comets are often independently discovered by more than one person). Maria Mitchell won one of these prizes, and this gave her worldwide fame, since the only previous women to discover a comet were the astronomers Caroline Herschel and Maria Margarethe Kirch.

1848

She became the first woman elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848 and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1850. In 1881, reporting to the Association for the Advancement of Women, Mitchell expressed surprise that no women had been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences after her. Mitchell was also one of the first women elected to the American Philosophical Society (1869, at the same meeting Mary Somerville and Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz were elected). She later worked at the U.S. Nautical Almanac Office, calculating tables of positions of Venus, and traveled in Europe with Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family.

1865

She became professor of astronomy at Vassar College in 1865, the first person appointed to the faculty. She was also named as Director of the Vassar College Observatory. After teaching there for some time, she learned that despite her reputation and experience, her salary was less than that of many younger male professors. She insisted on a salary increase, and got it. She taught at the college until her retirement in 1888, one year before her death.

1868

Mitchell began recording sun spots by eye in 1868, but from 1873, her students and she at Vassar College were able to make daily photographic records, allowing more accurate records. These were the first regular photographs of the sun, and they allowed her to explore the hypothesis that sun spots were cavities rather than clouds on the surface of the sun. For the total solar eclipse of July 1878, Mitchell and five assistants travelled with a 4-inch telescope to Denver for observations.

1888

Mitchell never married, but remained close to her immediate family throughout her life. After she retired from Vassar College in 1888, she lived in Lynn, Massachusetts, with her sister Kate and her family. Very few of her personal documents remain from before 1846. The Mitchell family believes she witnessed personal papers of fellow Nantucketers blown through the street by the Great Fire of 1846, and because fear of another fire persisted, she burned her own documents to keep them private.

1889

Mitchell died of brain disease on June 28, 1889, at the age of 70, in Lynn, Massachusetts. She was buried in Lot 411, in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Nantucket. The Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket is named in her honor. The observatory is part of the Maria Mitchell Association in Nantucket, which aims to preserve the sciences on the island. It operates a natural history museum, aquarium, Maria Mitchell's Home Museum, and the Science Library, as well as the observatory. She was also inducted into the US National Women's Hall of Fame, and was made a National Women's History Month Honoree for 1989 by the National Women's History Project. She was the namesake of a World War II Liberty ship, the SS Maria Mitchell. New York's Metro North commuter railroad (with its Hudson Line endpoint in Poughkeepsie near Vassar College) has a train named the Maria Mitchell Comet in her honor. On August 1, 2013, the search engine Google honored Maria Mitchell with a Google doodle showing her in cartoon form on top of a roof gazing through a telescope in search of comets.

2012

After attending Elizabeth Gardener's small school in her earliest childhood years, Maria attended the North Grammar school, where william Mitchell was the first principal. Two years following the founding of that school, when Maria was 11, her Father built his own school on Howard Street. There, she was a student and also a teaching assistant to her Father. At home, Maria's Father taught her astronomy using his personal telescope. At age 12 1/2, she aided her Father in calculating the exact moment of an annular eclipse.