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'Miss Mitchell's Comet' Streaks Across Google Doodle Today

Maria Mitchell
Google honored Maria Mitchell — the first American woman who worked as a professional astronomer — with a "Google Doodle" to celebrate what would be her 195th birthday on Aug. 1, 2013. (Image credit: Google)

There might be a few space fans working at Google. The search engine is honoring Maria Mitchell — the first American woman who worked as a professional astronomer — with a doodle to celebrate what would be her 195th birthday.

Mitchell discovered a comet in 1847 by searching the skies with a telescope on the roof of the bank where her father worked in Nantucket, Mass. The king of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery, known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet." She became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College in 1865. Mitchell died in 1889 after retiring from teaching for health reasons a year earlier, officials from the Maria Mitchell Association wrote on their website. "We especially need imagination in science," Mitchell is quoted as saying. "It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry." Visit Google.com to see the special doodle.

This isn't the first space-themed doodle this year. Google commemorated the 66th anniversary of the "UFO" incident in Roswell, N.M. with a special game as the doodle for the day in early July.

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Miriam Kramer
Miriam Kramer joined Space.com as a staff writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also serves as Space.com's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. You can follow Miriam on Twitter and Google+.