Maria Mitchell's Birthday
Maria Mitchell's Birthday.

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) was born on the first day of August 195 years ago. She discovered a comet using a two-inch telescope when she was 29 years old, helping to put American astronomy on the map. It became known as “Miss Mitchell's Comet” and led to her becoming the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848. Miss Mitchell would be the only female member for the next century.

These are only a few of Maria Mitchell’s impressive array of accomplishments in science, education, and racial and sexual equality. She was notable as well for taking a firm and public stance against slavery and organized religion.

The Moon’s Mitchell crater, shown below, is also named after her.

Today’s Google logo charmingly commemorates this courageous and groundbreaking American scientist.

© Eric S. Kounce, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.