August 14, 2014

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter

Upcoming Astronomy Films & Lectures at
33 Washington Street

We've had an incredible group of astronomy students at MMA this summer, and each of them has worked on an original research project the results of which will be published in leading scientific journals.     

Lecture: Astronomy REU Student Research Projects (Part 1)     
Thursday, August 14th, 7 PM

Lecture: Astronomy REU Student Research Projects (Part 2)
Tuesday, August 19th, 7 PM

Lecture: Alone in the Universe
by Dr. Howard Smith
Thursday, August 21st, 7 PM

Film Screening: The City Dark: A Search for Night on a Planet that Never Sleeps
Tuesday, August 26th, 7 PM

Free Admission

MMA Hires New Director Of
Development & Communications

The Maria Mitchell Association welcomes George Donnelly as the new Director of Development and Communications.  Before joining the MMA this past July, he served as a fundraising, marketing, and design consultant to a variety of New England clients for more than seven years.  He also served as the Vice President of Marketing for the Providence Convention and Visitors Bureau (RI) and as Executive Director of the Providence Tourism Council.  He served for more than a decade as the Director of Advertising and Public Relations for Mystic Aquarium (CT).


While at the Maria Mitchell Association, he will work to support and enhance fundraising efforts and work to better communicate all that MMA has to offer, including programs, MMA research, and activities.  He can be reached by email or by calling MMA at 508.228.9198.

MMA Receives Grant From
The Cape Cod Five Foundation

Launching rockets at our Blast Off! Program 

MMA would like to extend a special thank you to the Cape Cod Five Foundation for supporting Reaching for the Stars, an astronomy pilot program for children and families.  This summer, with help from the Foundation, we began offering astronomy education activities for children and families.  These new programs include ARTstronomy, Blast Off!, Robot Explorers, AstroKids Nights, and the Stars and Senses Night Hike.  They have all proven to be a big success and we hope to use these as a platform to build a year round education program.  The overall goals of Reaching for the Stars are:


  • To increase the understanding of astronomy and space exploration among Nantucket residents and visitors;
  • Provide opportunities for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in an informal setting;
  • Develop a summer pilot series that can grow into year-round programming for Nantucket schools and residents;
  • To hire an astronomy intern who will design and lead lessons, promote the activities, and conduct evaluations.


Thanks again to the Cape Cod Five Foundation  

for helping us Reach the Stars!


MMA Scallop and Harbor Research

Student Presentation


Wednesday, August 27, 7-8 PM, 33 Washington Street

High School students have been working with Dr. Peter Boyce on several projects this summer and will be presenting their work at the end of August.  Along with assisting with ongoing spat bag surveys, the projects include studying how effective mud crabs are at eating young scallops, studying the phytoplankton in the harbor, and analyzing dissolved oxygen levels throughout the harbor.  All this work adds to our understanding of the harbor ecosystem and is the basis for future research projects.  Please consider coming to the presentations to support these local students!

Free Admission

MMA Astronomy Director Serves
On NASA Committee

Michael West, Director of Astronomy, spent last week in Baltimore serving on the grant selection committee for NASA's Astrophysics Data Analysis Program. ADAP provides financial support for investigations whose purpose is the analysis of NASA space astrophysics data.  

Lemonade Stand Donation

MMA would like to say thank you to Olivia and Stella Newman for their donation from the proceeds of their lemonade and cookie stand!  We greatly appreciate your donation!

Maria Mitchell's Birthday Celebration

A big thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated Maria's 196th birthday with us on August 1st.  A great time was had by all.  We had games, live animals, a photo booth, and more! 

Check out some of our photos on our Facebook page!

Crazy Scientist Photo Booth

Also be sure to check out the exciting insect races!

Rollie Pollie Race
Rollie Pollie Race

We would also like to say thank you to Fizzleblitz for
sponsoring the soft drinks!

Stargazing Nights at Loines Observatory

Where: 59 Milk Street Extension
When: Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays
(Weather Permitting)
Time: 9-10:30 PM

Members: Free
Non-members: $10/person

Birthday Parties at MMA!

Come celebrate your child's birthday with us.  We are now offering private birthday parties June through October!

For more details on booking a party, visit our website.

Fall Hours Start Tuesday, September 2nd
**Properties Closed Labor Day**

Tuesday, September 2nd - Friday, September 5th, 9 AM-12 PM
Saturday, September 6th, Release Day, 10 AM-1 PM

Check out this video of the marine life at our Aquarium!

Maria Mitchell Aquarium 2014

Closes Saturday, August 30th

Call for hours after August 30th: 508.228.2896

Last Tour Saturday, August 30th, 1 PM

Loines Observatory
September & October: Every Friday 8:30-10 PM
(Weather Permitting)

Connect with us:


Also follow our Astronomy news and tweets from @ACKstronomy.

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


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Board and Staff


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

Mary Archibald (Bebe) Poor, D.V.M  

Eileen Rudden
Anne P. Strain
Edward Symes, III
Helene M. Weld



Administration (508)228-9198
John L. Daniels, Interim Executive Director
George Donnelly, Director of Development & Communications
Joan Alison Stockman, Financial Administrator

Kyra Taylor, Administrative Assistant
Astronomy (508)228-9723
Michael West, Director of Astronomy, Ph.D.
Vladimir Strelnitski, Maria Mitchell Observatory's Director Emeritus, Ph.D.
Gary Walker, Astronomer and Telescope Engineer

Mitchell House & Archives and Special Collections (508)228-2896
Jascin Leonardo Finger, Curator of the Mitchell House

Natural Science (508)228-9198
Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science
Education (508)228-9198
Kim Botelho, Director of Education 
         Robert Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow, Ph.D.         
Edith F. Andrews,Ornithologist Emeritus
                                            Peter Boyce,  Research Associate, Ph.D.                                        
       Valerie A. Hall, Research Associate, Ph.D. 

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Maria Mitchell Association
4 Vestal Street, Nantucket, MA 02554

phone: (508)228-9198
fax: (508)228-1031
Maria Mitchell Association