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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Maria Kirch

b. 1670, Panitsch, Germany; d. 1720, Berlin

Although astronomer Maria Kirch did not receive a formal education, her husband, Gottfried Kirch, shared his knowledge of science with her. They worked as a team on calendars and ephemeredes (tables showing planet, sun, and moon positions), but only he was permitted to work for the Berlin Academy of Sciences. She discovered “the comet of 1702” and in 1710 published A Discourse on the Approaching Conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, Etc. In 1712, she began working in Baron von Krosigk’s observatory, continuing there until the baron’s death, at which point she joined her son, also an astronomer, in the Berlin Academy, where she worked until her own death.