Maria longed to travel beyond her small island of Nantucket. But she wasn’t sure how. Her father taught her to look to the stars for guidance. If you knew how to read them, he said, the stars could tell you where you were, and where you needed to go. They spent hours scanning the night sky together through a telescope on the roof. Maria learned how to use astronomers’ tools to measure and track time by the stars. But what could she do with her skills? Then, one day, she heard that a prize was being offered to the first person to find a new comet. Could this be the opportunity she was waiting for?

The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything tells the story of 19th century astronomer and women’s rights advocate Maria Mitchell, who not only won the prize for discovering a telescopic comet, but also went on to become the first female member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of the first female college professors in the United States.

This is also the story of a woman whose boundless curiosity, intellectual rigour, healthy skepticism, and fearless pursuit of truth still have much to teach us.