Nantucket's Science Center                                                         August 27, 2015

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter


Tropical Fish Arrive on Nantucket

Tropical fish, such as our recently caught Boxfish, Butterfly Fish, and Permit, get trapped in the fast moving Gulf Stream current and are carried north from as far south as Florida. Eddies curl off of the Gulf Stream bringing these fish to Nantucket harbors.  Tropical fish cannot survive the cold winters on Nantucket, so we try to catch as many as possible to save them and display in the Aquarium.  Two years ago, we caught our tropical Flying Gurnard fish.  He has grown significantly and can still be seen today at the Aquarium. 

Release Day at the Aquarium
September 5th, 10AM - 1PM
It's time for the animals to go home! Join us as we release the Aquarium animals back to their natural habitats. Visitors can enjoy a hands-on experience and see a whole new side of the Aquarium.
This event is free to the public and appeals to all ages.  

Change in Stargazing Hours 

Starting in September, Open Nights will take place Monday and Tuesday nights from 7:30PM to 9PM.  Open Nights are free for Members and $10 for Non-Members.  View distant stars and galaxies using the largest public telescope on the East Coast.


    Our Amazing Interns! 

It is that time of year again. The summer madness is coming to an end and our little island is getting ready for a much quieter fall.  The Maria Mitchell Association has especially had a wonderful summer season.  We brought Dogfish sharks to the Aquarium, added extra camp programs, introduced a new executive director, introduced a new Speaker Series every week in August and September, completed the conservation of the Library exterior, hosted the Nantucket Red-Tie SoirĂ©e, and overall promoted the legacy of Maria Mitchell through exploration, education, and enjoyment of Nantucket.  We have definitely been busy! 
None of our growth or progress would be possible if it were not for our amazing interns.  After receiving hundreds of applications for the varied internship positions, we accepted twenty-seven interns, including the REU Astronomy students, and welcomed them to Nantucket.  You might have seen them helping to run our museums, leading camp programs, providing you with a tour of the night sky, or out in the field collecting data.  The MMA is very appreciative of all of their hard work and help and wish them the best of luck with their future endeavors. 
A Special Thanks to Our Community Service Campers and Partners!
This summer, in addition to our traditional Discovery Camp and Naturalist Leadership Program options, MMA also offered community service camps for 10 - 12 year olds and 13 - 16 year olds. In these camps, participants had the opportunity to gain service hours needed for school, scout, and honor society requirements while exploring Nantucket and learning about the importance of land conservation. Campers spent an hour or two in the morning completing a community service project and then would enjoy fun summer activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, geocaching, and more in the afternoons.
For many years, our campers have enjoyed exploring the diverse properties of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Nantucket Islands Land Bank (NILB) and so this was an opportunity for us to give back a little and provide opportunities for our campers to learn more about our partners as well. We were able to launch this program with the help and support of NCF and NILB and for that we are most grateful. As it turned out, we were able to help a number of other community partners including the Nantucket Food Pantry, Safe Harbor for Animals, the Nantucket Community Garden, and the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church. I am so proud of all of our instructors and campers and the inspiring projects they completed throughout the summer.
To read more about the projects completed, please click here.


2015 Closure Dates and Fall Hours



 Aquarium: 9AM-12PM

August 31st - September 4th


Natural Science Museum: Closes August 28th


Mitchell House: Closes August 28th, available for tours, during the month of September, please call for hours


Vestal Street Observatory: Closes August 28th


Loines Observatory: September hours are Monday and Tuesday 7:30-9PM


Thank you for a wonderful season!

Name an Exoworld for America's First Woman Astronomer, Maria Mitchell
Photo from IAU
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the largest organization of professional astronomers in the world, is sponsoring a contest to rename 20 stars and their associated planets. The IAU is the official naming organization for astronomical bodies, and the public gets to vote on the names. The MMA has proposed that a star currently known as Andromedae 14 be renamed "Maria Mitchell" and its accompanying planet be named '"William Mitchell." Help us honor Maria Mitchell by voting.

Nantucket Science Speaker Series
All presentations will take place at 33 Washington Street at 6 PM.  Lectures are free for Members.  Non-Members will be charged $10 per person.
September 1

Andrew McCandless 
Boat mooring chains uproot eelgrass creating bare patches throughout Nantucket Harbor. Andrew McCandless is working to determine the extent of this disturbance and looking for any invertebrate community difference between eelgrass beds containing moorings and those nearby that do not. 
September 2

Dr. Stella Kafka
Dr. Kafka will introduce the main categories of variable stars and illustrate how you can participate in cutting-edge observational astronomy projects and be part of the discovery process.
September 9

Dr. Kelley Beatty

Thanks to light pollution, most of us have never seen the night sky in all its wonder. But a new mindset and new technology are poised to slow - and perhaps reverse - this bane of modern life. 
September 16

Dr. Arthur Swedlow

A popular lecture by Dr. Arthur Swedlow on our Universe without the gory details. Dr. Swedlow has taught Physics, Astronomy, Physical Science, and Anatomy & Physiology as a part-time adjunct professor for over 45 years.
September 23

Major John Reed, USAF, Ret.
Major John Reed, USAF Retired, was a pilot for 15 years with 2300 hours seat time and a total of 35 years of flying Infrared Scientific Research missions out of AFCRL at Hanscom Field, Massachusetts.

Become a Member
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

 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
Joan Gulley, Treasurer
Patricia L.R. Brennan, Ph.D., Clerk
Howard Blitman
John Hartner
Judy MacLeod
Malcolm MacNab, M.D., Ph.D. 
Toni McKerrow
Michael Nelson

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


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
Gary Walker, Interim Director of Astronomy/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