July 2, 2015

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter


Are you Nantucket Red-Tie ready?

Are you Nantucket

Red-Tie ready?

Venus and Jupiter
On June 30th, Venus and Jupiter created a dazzling pair as the two planets appeared closer together in the sky than anytime in the past 24 years. Both planets could be seen at the same time though the 8-inch Clarke Telescope at Loines Observatory, a rare treat for visitors. It's believed that a similar rare convergence of Jupiter and Venus may have created the apparent "Star of Bethlehem" two thousand years ago. The next close appearance of Jupiter and Venus won't occur until 2023. 
Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter
Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter

Get Ready for a Close-Up
Look at Pluto!
On July 14th, NASA's New Horizon's spacecraft will give humanity its first up-close look at Pluto, the culmination of an almost ten year journey through space. You can follow all the exciting developments and see the latest photos of this mysterious icy world here
Photo by NASA

Family Astronomy Programs 

ARTstronomy: Using pictures and stories,

children are introduced to the wonders of the

universe and their place in it.  Children must

be accompanied by an adult.


Blast Off!: Children discover the wonders of

space exploration by building and launching

their own model rockets. Children must be

accompanied by an adult.



Robot Explorers: After an introduction to 

robots and robotic spacecraft that have explored our solar system, teams assemble robot 'cublets' and use a robotic arm to learn how robots work.  Children must be accompanied by an adult. 



Stars and Senses Night Hike: Enjoy an evening hike under the stars where you will test your night vision, listen for nocturnal animals and learn about their adaptations. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.



AstroKids Night:  Drop your children

at MMA's Natural Science Museum while you blast off for dinner during AstroKids Nights. Your child will play indoor and outdoor games, create works of art, complete scavenger hunts, or go on a night hike.  This program is for ages 6-12.


For more information or to register for any of these programs, please click HERE

  Family Snorkeling Programs


Join us for an underwater adventure as we snorkel off of Jetties Beach! Our staff will provide participants with the proper training and equipment. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Ages 10 and up.



 July 14 and 28:

$50 members, $75 non-members


July 21 with underwater photography:

$75 members, $95 non-members

 Sign up here.

  American Burying Beetle Research 



This has been a surprisingly good year for the American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus). This species is a federally listed endangered species and was reintroduced to Nantucket in 1994. In 2015, we have captured thirty-two beetles in two weeks of trapping. This is actually very encouraging news - since 2011 we have pulled back our reintroduction effort to see if the beetles can survive on their own. We expected fifteen or fewer beetles this year and have been pleasantly surprised!

Painting Has Begun!
Now that the masonry is complete on the MMA's Former Library -- soon to become the Ecology/Science Lab --the painters have moved in. The first order of business is the original steel windows. The painter, Jim Tyler, and his crew began with a special primer paint for steel. It's a lovely warm brown color and we all toyed for more than a few moments about keeping the windows brown. But historically, they were white so the crew applied several coats of white to the window sashes and trim. Next up will be painting the gutters and downspouts and finally the stucco.


Visit Us:

Aquarium: 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Natural Science Museum: 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Mitchell House: Guided Tours 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Vestal Street Observatory: 2pm Mon-Fri.

Loines Observatory: 9pm - 10:30pm MWF



Have You Renewed Your Membership?
Members Receive Exclusive Benefits:
Discounts on Discovery Classes, Nature Walks,  
Lectures, and Other Programs .  
Unlimited free admission to all MMA museums.





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         Maria Mitchell's Attic
       A blog about Maria Mitchell, the Mitchells, and the
                             Mitchell House

Also follow our Astronomy news and tweets from @ACKstronomy.

 4 Vestal Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-9198



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Board and Staff


John L. Daniels, President
Deb Manus, First Vice President
Helene M. Weld, Second Vice President
Michael Nelson, Treasurer
Patricia L.R. Brennan, Ph.D., Clerk
Howard Blitman
Patty Gibian
Joan Gulley 
John Hartner
Judy MacLeod
Malcolm MacNab, M.D., Ph.D. 
Toni McKerrow

Mary Archibald (Bebe) Poor, D.V.M  

Katherine Rhode, Ph.D.
Eileen Rudden

Anne P. Strain
Edward Symes, III



Administration (508)228-9198

David Gagnon, Executive Director

dgagnon @mariamitchell.org

Joan Alison Stockman, Director of Finance & Administration

George Donnelly, Director of Development & Communications

Sarah Erichsen, Development Coordinator

Lauren Berlin, Administrative & Marketing Assistant
Astronomy (508)228-9723
Michael West, Ph.D. Director of Astronomy

Gary Walker, Astronomer and Telescope Engineer
Vladimir Strelnitski, Ph.D.,
Maria Mitchell Observatory's Director Emeritus 
Mitchell House & Archives and Special Collections (508)228-2896
Jascin Leonardo Finger, Deputy Director & Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives, and Special Collections
Natural Science (508)228-9198
Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science
Education (508)228-9198
Kim Botelho, Director of Education 

Research Associates 
 Robert Kennedy, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow
Edith F. Andrews, Ornithologist Emeritus
Peter Boyce,  Ph.D., Research Associate
Valerie A. Hall, Ph.D., Research Associate

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Maria Mitchell Association
4 Vestal Street, Nantucket, MA 02554
phone: (508) 228-9198
fax: (508) 228-1031
Maria Mitchell Association