Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) was an American astronomer. She began her career as an amateur, making observations from her home in Nantucket. In 1847 she discovered a comet, winning an international prize, and became a minor celebrity.  This launched her on her professional career. She worked on calculations for the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac. In 1865, Matthew Vassar founded Vassar College and hired her as a professor of astronomy and director of the observatory. The observatory was the first building constructed at Vassar. Vassar became an important center of astronomy, and Vassar graduates were in demand by the large observatories.
- ↑ Mass Moments: Maria Mitchell discovers comet, October 1, 1847
- ↑ Maria Mitchell Observatory, Vassar Encyclopedia
- ↑ Mack, Pamela E. (1990), "Straying From Their Orbits: Women in Astronomy in America," in Kass-Simon, G. and Patricia Farnes (eds) (1990), Women of Science: Righting the Record, Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-33264-8