We are currently accepting applications for the summer 2021 program. Please Note: The summer 2021 program will take place either in-person or remotely (as was done in summer 2020) based on the updated COVID-19 travel restrictions.
For more than 60 years, the Maria Mitchell Observatory (MMO) has offered summer research opportunities in astronomy and astrophysics for students on the picturesque island of Nantucket. Six summer internship positions will be available in 2021 for qualified undergraduate astronomy and physics students through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which is supported by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
REU students at the MMO work on individualized research projects under the guidance of experienced astronomers.
Some current areas of research include:
- Formation and evolution of stars and galaxies
- Groups and clusters of galaxies
- Stellar populations
- Cataclysmic Variable Stars
- Probing the Cosmic Web with Fast Radio Bursts
- Astrophysical masers and lasers
- Cosmology and the early Universe
- History and culture of astronomy
Research at MMO emphasizes state-of-the-art data reduction techniques and thoughtful physical interpretation. Data for projects are obtained from Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Space Telescope, leading ground-based optical, infrared and radio telescopes, and next generation surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS). Students also obtain data and develop their hands-on observational skills with the MMO’s 24″ and 17″ research telescopes equipped with modern CCD cameras. In addition, students have access to the digitized photographic plate collections of the MMO and the Harvard College Observatory, a unique historical resource for studies of variable objects over long time periods.
The Maria Mitchell Observatory is a recognized leader in training the next generation of astronomers. Since its inception in 1957, hundreds of undergraduate students have discovered the joy of doing astronomical research surrounded by the natural beauty of Nantucket island. Many have gone on to successful careers as astronomers at leading universities, observatories and other organizations around the world.
In 2009, the Maria Mitchell Association received the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Obama for its half-century long program of mentoring undergraduate student research in astronomy.
MMO offers six REU internships in astronomy each summer. These positions provide an opportunity for students to conduct independent research supervised by a senior staff of the MMO and visiting scientists. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate institution with a planned graduation date after September 2022. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required.
Positions will be available starting June 1st and continuing until late August. Stipends are $2,000 monthly, and free furnished housing is also provided. Up to $500 for round trip travel between the student’s home and Nantucket is available, as are funds to present research results at the January American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting. The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is an affirmative action and Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages all interested individuals to apply.
Internship applications are due February 1st. Completed applications consist of an essay, a resume/CV, and copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (unofficial transcripts are acceptable), as well as two letters of recommendation to be sent before the deadline. Complete instructions can be found on the application submission page here. Questions about the MMO’s REU program can be sent to Dr. Regina Jorgenson, Director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory.
We hope to welcome you to the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Observatory!