In 1847, American astronomer Maria Mitchell became the first American to discover a comet. A librarian by day and an astronomer by night in her father’s observatory in Nantucket, she discovered comet C/1847 T1 – originally known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.” She became the first woman in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of the first women employed by the US government. As the first female astronomy professor, she advocated for girls’ education at Vassar College by bringing feminists to her observatory. She extended her advocacy to the American Association for the Advancement of Women, and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in New York.
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