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Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell [pronounced "mə-RYE-ə"] (August 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889) was an American astronomer, who in 1847 by using a telescope, discovered a comet, which as a result became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet." She won a gold medal prize for her discovery, which was presented to her by King Christian VIII of Denmark. On the medal was inscribed "''Non Frustra Signorum Obitus Speculamur et Ortus''" in Latin (taken from Georgics by Virgil (Book I, line 257) (English: "Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising [of the stars]"). Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer.

The third of ten children, she was raised in the Quaker religion, but later adopted Christian Unitarianism.
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