Mitchell, Maria (18181889), a United States astronomer. Her birthplace was Nantucket, Massachusetts. She won attention as an astronomer in 1847 when she discovered a comet. The following year she became the first woman to be elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was professor of astronomy at Vassar College, 186588. Miss Mitchell was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1905.