The Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket's Science Center 
E-Comet Newsletter

A Note from Dr. Regina Jorgenson

_AAS photo _ 2014 Joson Images_


Returning to Nantucket from off-island is always a bit like a dream . . . and now for me it is a dream come true.  I am so excited to be starting as the new Director of Astronomy at the MMA.
I first came to Nantucket as a summer research intern in the National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program hosted here at the MMA.   During that summer of 1997, I simultaneously fell in love with both astronomy and the island, and my experiences here shaped not only my career but also my life.
I have a distinct memory of leaving on the ferry that summer and my good friend (and fellow intern) telling me that if I threw a penny into the water, I would one day return. Well, it turns out he was right! In fact, I returned two years later -- after finishing my B.S degree in physics and travelling the world for a year as a Watson Fellow -- to work as the Assistant Director, under then director Vladimir Strelnitski. I eventually left the island again to pursue my Ph.D., followed by two postdoctoral positions in Cambridge, England and Hawai'i, and a short stint as a professor, before finally realizing my dream to become the MMA Director of Astronomy.
Some of my first plans as Director are to develop and formalize the REU alumni network, to remodel the Vestal Street Observatory museum -- which is long overdue for an update! -- and to prepare for the incoming summer REU interns. This last task will be made a bit easier with the generous support of the Dunham Foundation from which we recently won a small grant to purchase a dedicated Mac workstation ideal for astronomical data reduction and analysis. I am eager to begin work with the new summer students on projects that will range from the search for extra-solar planets to the study of how galaxies like our own Milky Way formed and evolved over time.
As I begin in this new role, I am inspired by Maria Mitchell's pioneering spirit -- a person truly ahead of her time, both in education pedagogy and women's rights -- and I am honored to be given this opportunity. I look forward to meeting all of you in the near future, both island residents and friends from afar, whose pennies may bring them back just as mine did.
With best wishes for clear skies,

Moons and Monsoons 
Do you love learning about big storms, natural disasters, and outer space? If so, this is the perfect afternoon of fun for you. We will investigate hurricanes on Jupiter, volcanoes on Mars, freezing wind storms on Neptune and much more through hands-on activities and art projects.

1. Afterschool Program
Register at the Nantucket Community School, Grades K-2
Thursdays: February 4, 11, 18 and  March 3, 10, 17
2:45 - 3:45 pm
Registration Fee: $85
Materials Fee: $25.00

2. At the MMA
Register by calling the MMA Office at 508-228-9198
This version is designed for 3.5-6 year olds with an adult. As always, our preschool family programs will include a short activity or story followed by a craft to take home.
Wednesdays, Jan 27, Feb 3, 10, 17, 24, and March 2
9:30 - 10:30 am
$5 Members
$10 Non-members

2016 Summer Internships
Every summer, the MMA accepts interns from around the country and even the world! We offer internships in Astronomy, Education, Natural Science, Marketing/Development, Aquarium Science, History, Museums Studies, and Historic Preservation.  Qualified undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply TODAY! 

For those who are in need, housing is provided.  In addition, interns receive a stipend for their hard work. 

Do you have what it takes to be a MMA intern?  Make sure to apply soon and note each position's deadlines. 

The Maria Mitchell Association is an equal opportunity employer.

Do you have the desire to be a volunteer?
The MMA relies on generous gifts of time and talent from volunteers. Our small but dedicated staff needs help with many projects across all departments, ranging from feeding animals, assisting with research, and taking photographs, to editing videos and preparing mailings. If you would like to be a volunteer, please email Lauren at
 Write a Review 
If you have visited the MMA or participated in any of our programs, please take five minutes to write a review about us on TripAdvisor.  It is easy to do and will help other families find us when they visit Nantucket.  We want to hear what you love about the MMA!  If you write a review, you will be entered for the chance to win a Nantucket red MMA hat!  

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Maria Mitchell's Attic
A blog about Maria Mitchell, the Mitchell's, and daily workings of the Mitchell House.

The MMA is a strong community and we are excited to welcome our newest members and their families:
 Charles Byrne & Ellen Mitchell
Sarah & Jonathan Bracken
Samantha & Todd Greenfield
Alana Cullen
Anne Strain
Libby & Charles Gibson
Elizabeth & Keith Roe
Philip & Janet Villiotte
Carolyn Wells & Frank White
Robi & Ruth Blumenstein
Pamela Van Hoven Clark
Donald & Deborah Van Dyke
Joan & Ronald Curhan
Elaine Lowengard

Are you a member?  We have updated our membership program to provide you with even more benefits. Join  here and help support the MMA.

Because members really do have more fun!

Provided by
Private Events

Want to provide your guests with an unforgettable and unique evening?  Host them at the MMA's Loines Observatory.  Our gorgeous deck overlooks sensational sunsets and at night, the stars glitter like diamonds with a brightness only Nantucket can provide.  An astronomer will be at your service to show your guests majestic planets and star clusters through our world class telescopes.  This location is perfect for cocktail parties, birthday parties, corporate events, rehearsal dinners, and much more! Weather dependent.
For more information and to reserve now for the summer, please call Lauren at
508-228-9198 or email: