Updates‎ > ‎

2017-08-01. Maria Mitchell's Birthday.

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:51 PM by Alan Gould
By Writer's Almanac. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: Today is the birthday of Maria Mitchell ..., the first acknowledged female astronomer, born in 1818 on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts. ...Maria Mitchell's Quaker parents believed that girls should have the same access to education and the same chance to aspire to high goals as boys, and they raised all 10 of their children as equals. Maria's early interest in science and the stars came from her father, a dedicated amateur astronomer who shared with all his children what he saw as physical evidence of God in the natural world, although Maria was the only child interested enough to learn the mathematics of astronomy. ...By age 12, Maria was assisting her father with his astronomical observations and data, and just five years later opened and ran her own school for girls, training them in the sciences and math. In 1838, she became the librarian of the Nantucket Atheneum and began spending her evenings in an observatory her father had built atop the town's bank. On October 1, 1848, a crisp, clear autumn evening, Maria focused her father's telescope on a distant star. The light was faint and blurry, and Maria suddenly realized she was looking not at a star, but a comet; she recorded its coordinates, and when she saw the next night that the fuzzy light had moved, she was sure. Maria shared her discovery with her father, who wrote to the Harvard Observatory, who in turn passed her name on to the king of Denmark, who had pledged a gold medal to the first person to discover a comet so distant that it could only be seen through a telescope. Maria was awarded the medal the following year, and the comet became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet." ... https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/maria-mitchell-bio/
Comments