The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is Hosting a Winter Naturalist Speaker Series

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2019
Contact: Lydia Gullicksen
508-228-9198
lgullicksen@mariamitchell.org

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is Hosting a Winter Naturalist Speaker Series

Nantucket, MA – Throughout the months of February and March, the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting speakers at its newly opened Research Center at 2 Vestal Street on select Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm. The series will focus on natural science and the natural world of Nantucket. Each hour long lecture will feature a local scientist or specialist and will be comprised of a talk, followed by a question and answer session.

The first lecturer in the Winter Speakers Series will be Julia Blyth on February 20th, the Biological Collections Manager at the Maria Mitchell Association. In what promises to be a unique experience, she will prepare a specimen of a bird that was found dead on Nantucket.  Once processed, the specimen will become a permanent part of the MMA’s biological collections. This demonstration will be projected on a big screen so the audience can see her work in real time and up close. Blyth prepares specimens, maintains the collections, and carries out field research with Barn Owls, Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies), and leafminers. The Maria Mitchell Association has been carefully preserving and curating biological specimens from Nantucket Island for over a century. Blyth has herself been adding to the MMA’s collections since 2011.

Up next will be Vincent Murphy on March 6th. Murphy is an ecologist who has worked with a large variety of species and habitats in Europe and North America. Murphy is now the Protected Species Technician for the Town of Nantucket. His talk entitled “Nantucket’s Protected Shore Birds” is about the protected species that breed around Nantucket each summer and the Town’s efforts to protect these species. The legal standing, conservation strategies, future management, and beautiful pictures of shorebirds will be featured in his talk.

On March 20, Nantucket’s very own Ginger Andrews, the MMA’s field ornithologist, will talk about bird rehabilitation Andrews the daughter of acclaimed ornithologist Edith Folger Andrews and ichthyologist J. Clinton Andrews, grew up in an ornithological world. With birds often in rehabilitation in the very house she lived in, she has a very unique perspective on birds and will share her stories and wisdom. Come hear her discussion on the needs, individual personalities, and conservation of bird species she has encountered, including the Barn owl.

Jack Dubinsky, the Maria Mitchell Association’s aquarist, will speak on March 27th about the Gelatinous Zooplankton of Nantucket. He will discuss the odd and puzzling world of the “gelata,” which are drifting marine animals that lack rigid structure and are often translucent. While jellyfish are the most famous of these creatures, there are gelatinous representatives from almost every animal phylum, including Arthropods, Molluscs and even Chordates! At the end, he will discuss species commonly seen around Nantucket.

Each lecture will be free for Members of the MMA and $5 for Non-Members.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

The Natural Science Museum is Open

For Immediate Release
January 7, 2018
Contact: Lydia Gullicksen
508-228-9198
lgullicksen@mariamitchell.org

 

Nantucket, MA – The Maria Mitchell Association is excited to announce that the Natural Science Museum will be open on Saturdays this winter from 10 am to 2pm.  While open, the Museum will run a feeding program, “Very Hungry Vertebrates,” in the mornings.

“We are delighted to offer year round families and winter visitors an opportunity to enjoy our Natural Science Museum with all our new hands-on exhibits and interesting animals” said Executive Director, David Gagnon.

The Natural Science Museum is located at 7 Milk Street and is a great way to pass the winter weekends with children of all ages. There are live animals, all found on Nantucket or its surrounding waters, including a bullfrog, jellyfish, turtles, snakes, and tropical fish. The tropical fish were found around Nantucket, but are not native species; they find their way up in summer trapped in warm core eddies. This winter the Natural Science Museum is hosting animals that have never been on display at the Maria Mitchell Association before, including the Ocyropsis crystalline, which is a type of comb jelly, and the bioluminescent crystal jellyfish. Marine exhibits will rotate throughout the winter and will feature new species in the future.

The Museum has interactive, educational exhibits where children can learn while playing, as well as biological collections, fossils, and a topography table where imaginary landscapes can come alive.  Before the Museum opens, the MMA will host “Very Hungry Vertebrates” from 9:00-9:40am. Participants will get to watch the Museum staff feed the snakes, fish, turtles, and tortoise and learn about the animals feeding ecology and how they are affected by seasons. The program is $5 for Members and $10 for Non-Members. Limited space is available so pre-registration online at mariamitchell.org is recommended. The Museum will be open from 10:00am – 2:00pm and will be free for Members, $5 for Non-Members. Membership purchased before the end of 2018 will be valid through 2019. Memberships can be purchased online at mariamitchell.org.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long.

 

For Immediate Release
October 29, 2018
Contact: Lydia Gullicksen
508-228-9198
lgullicksen@mariamitchell.org 

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Natural Science Museum Will be Open This Winter

Nantucket, MA – The Maria Mitchell Association is excited to announce that the Natural Science Museum will be open on Saturdays this winter from 10 am to 2pm.  While open, the Museum will run a feeding program, “Very Hungry Vertebrates,” in the mornings.

“We are delighted to offer year round families and winter visitors an opportunity to enjoy our Natural Science Museum with all our new hands-on exhibits and interesting animals” said Executive Director, David Gagnon.

The Natural Science Museum is located at 7 Milk Street and is a great way to pass the winter weekends with children of all ages. There are live animals, all found on Nantucket or its surrounding waters, including a bullfrog, jellyfish, turtles, snakes, and tropical fish. The tropical fish were found around Nantucket, but are not native species; they find their way up in summer trapped in warm core eddies. This winter the Natural Science Museum is hosting animals that have never been on display at the Maria Mitchell Association before, including the Ocyropsis crystalline, which is a type of comb jelly, and the bioluminescent crystal jellyfish. Marine exhibits will rotate throughout the winter and will feature new species in the future.

The Museum has interactive, educational exhibits where children can learn while playing, as well as biological collections, fossils, and a topography table where imaginary landscapes can come alive.  Before the Museum opens, the MMA will host “Very Hungry Vertebrates” from 9:00-9:40am. Participants will get to watch the Museum staff feed the snakes, fish, turtles, and tortoise and learn about the animals feeding ecology and how they are affected by seasons. The program is $5 for Members and $10 for Non-Members. Limited space is available so pre-registration online at mariamitchell.org is recommended. The Museum will be open from 10:00am – 2:00pm and will be free for Members, $5 for Non-Members. Membership purchased before the end of 2018 will be valid through 2019. Memberships can be purchased online at mariamitchell.org.

The Museum will be closed on November 24th.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long.

 

Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium Awards Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award to Four Recipients at Its First Meeting

NEWS
For Immediate Release
October 22, 2018
Contact: Jascin Leonardo Finger, MMA Deputy Director and Curator
jfinger@mariamitchell.org/508.228.2896

 Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium Awards Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award to Four Recipients at Its First Meeting

October 5th and 6th

MMA Caps Off Its First Highly Successful Symposium by Awarding Dava Sobel, Jill Tarter, Ph.D.; Meg Urry, Ph.D.; and Kate Kirby, Ph.D.; the Award

Nantucket,  MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association awarded its Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award to four recipients – all women well-known in the STEM field in the United States – at its first Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium (MMWISS) held at the Babson Executive Conference Center in Babson Park, MA on Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6, 2018.  The award was announced at the closing of the MMWISS on October 6, 2018.

The Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award was originally founded in 1996 by the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association and was designed to recognize an individual or group whose efforts have encouraged the advancement of girls and women in the natural and physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, computer science, and technology.  While there are many awards for scholastic and professional achievement in the various fields of science, the MMA believes it is equally important to recognize the people whose influence and support and make it possible for girls to become engaged in science and for women to reach the same high levels of accomplishment as their male peers. The first award was presented on October 4, 1997.  It took a hiatus after 2006.

The MMA believed then and still does today that a significant legacy left by Maria Mitchell was the vision and quality of education she gave to her students. The women she trained during her twenty‑three years at Vassar College went on to make an enduring contribution to the progress of women in all fields of science, education, and beyond. Teacher, mentor, role model  ̶  Maria Mitchell epitomized the full measure of what a woman scientist could be.  Were she with us today, her remarkable energies would surely be focused on academic and social reform, as well as career advancement opportunities for women in science.  The MMA hopes this award will be a bi-ennial event, along with the MMWISS.

Awardees are:

Dava Sobel – former New York Times science reporter and author of several books including, Longtitude, Galileo’s Daughter, The Planets, and a More Perfect Heaven, and recently The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard College Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars;

 Jill Tarter, Ph.D. – Chair Emeritus and former Director of the Center for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI);

Meg Urry, Ph.D. – Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy and           Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics;

Kate Kirby, Ph.D. – Executive Officer of the American Physical Society.

All four women were keynote speakers at the first MMWISS, along with panelists that included but was not limited to: Colette Salyk, Ph.D. of Vassar College; Dr. Ann LaCasce of Dana-Farber; Heather Goldstone, Ph.D. of WCAI; Shirley Malcom, Ph.D. of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Cecilia Aragon, Ph.D. of Washington State University; and Susana Widicus Weaver, Ph.D. of Emory University.

More information about the awardees and panelists can be found on the MMWISS website at mmwiss.org.

The MMWISS is meant to promote and support women and girls in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.  The Symposium also honored the 200th birthday of Maria Mitchell, America’s first woman astronomer.

Jascin Finger, MMA Deputy Director and Symposium Coordinator stated, “This Symposium is designed to serve as a source of inspiration and support and to be a hands-on experience in which all attendees are actively participating and problem solving.  We were thrilled with the reception of this first-time, sold-out event with almost 150 attendees from college students to women in late-career – it was a fantastic group of people working together to problem solve and to hear from people of all walks of the STEM world.  And we were very excited to have our keynotes – and to surprise them with this award as we re-institute it.”

The Symposium is named after Maria Mitchell, America’s first woman astronomer.  2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Mitchell’s birth. Mitchell, who went on to teach Astronomy at Vassar College, promoted hands-on learning and encouraged women to study science.

The themes that the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium address are persisting issues that hindered women in science in Maria Mitchell’s time and still affect them today. The Symposium also addresses where women are today, how to recruit women and girls into STEM, how to address the challenges that women still face in STEM, and how to broaden participation and leadership. Maria Mitchell believed in learning by doing and the Symposium will continue this philosophy by encouraging all attendees, female and male of all backgrounds and educations, to actively participate, problem-solve, and learn through a hands-on experience.

The two-day MMWISS was made possible thanks to the generous support of the National Science Foundation, American Philosophical Society, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Vassar College,  Mount Holyoke College, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, D. E. Shaw Company, Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science, Brainpickings.org, MA Space (NASA) Grant Consortium, American Astronomical Society, Schwartz Hannum PC,  Novartis, Tupancy-Harris Foundation, Linda Loring Nature Foundation, Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Sheila David, Ned & Merrilou Symes, the Red Sox Foundation, and Jascin Leonardo Finger and Eric Finger.

The event is organized by the Maria Mitchell Association, a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.

 

 

Press Release: Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association to Host Annual Aquarium Release Day

Press Release
For Immediate Release
August 28, 2018
Contact: Lydia Gullicksen
508-228-9198
lgullicksen@mariamitchell.org

 

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association to Host Annual Aquarium Release Day 

Nantucket, MA – As the summer season comes to a close, many of the sea creatures that have spent the past few months at the Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) Aquarium will be returned to the ocean with much fanfare during the Aquarium “Release Day.” On September 1, 2018, from 10:00 am-1:00 pm, everyone is invited to the MMA Aquarium to help release fish, mollusks, invertebrates and crustaceans back into the harbor.

Release Day is an annual event that attracts hundreds of people. Throughout the summer season, the Aquarium hosts eighty different species of animals that serve as ambassadors of the ocean. Visitors learn about marine ecosystems, the biodiversity of Nantucket waters, animal interaction, invasive species, and preservation efforts. The Aquarium animals aid in these lessons throughout the summer but once the Aquarium closes, it is time for hundreds of them to return to the ocean. Volunteers armed with buckets will be instructed on the proper way to handle the animals and then will help directly by releasing them into the harbor. The animals include horseshoe crabs, pipefish, striped bass, dogfish, sea robins, and oyster toadfish and many more. Each child in attendance will get his or her own creature to release and will then be able to watch the larger species be returned to the harbor by interns and adult volunteers.

“At the start of each summer, our staff, interns, and visitors are excited about the sea creatures that are brought to the Aquarium and displayed.  But they are all equally excited to release these same animals back to their aquatic home in Nantucket Harbor,” says Dave Gagnon, Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association.  “It’s a great tradition and excellent teaching opportunity,” he adds.

Much of the aquatic life in the Aquarium was gathered at the beginning of the summer. Local businesses around the island including Glidden’s Island Seafood, Just Do It 2, Critter Cruises, and Sayle’s Seafood find and donate a variety of animals. The Aquarium is dedicated to maintaining the quality of life of all of its inhabitants so that when the time comes, they will be able to readjust to life in the ocean. For example, each day live shrimp are caught in the harbor to provide a more realistic feeding experience for fish that, like the trunk fish, are accustomed to hunting for food.

The Aquarium is located at 28 Washington Street and this event is free to the public. Donations are gladly accepted to support the MMA’s Aquarium. There is potential for attendees to get wet while participating, so participants should dress accordingly.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston.

Press Release: Dr. Tim Lepore

Press Release 

For Immediate Release 

August 21, 2018 

Contact: Trinity Foreman 

508-228-9198, tforeman@mariamitchell.com 

 

For Immediate Release: Nantucket’s own Dr. Tim Lepore to speak at Maria Mitchell Association 

 

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture given by Dr. Tim Lepore on September 5th from 7:00-8:00 at 33 Washington Street. He will discuss “Review of Common and Not So Common Tick-Borne Diseases on Nantucket.”  Dr. Lepore’s talk will address the symptoms of tick-borne diseases, including the less common ones, preventative measures that can be taken, and treatments. These diseases include Lyme disease, Babesia, Anaplasmosis, and Borrelia Miyamotoi. It is possible to be infected with more than one of these at a time.  

Dr. Lepore has been treating members of the Nantucket community for the past 35 years and is currently a resident doctor and surgeon at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. He is an advocate for the awareness of tick-borne diseases on Nantucket, which is especially important in a community that has one of the highest incidence rates in the country. Dr. Lepore is considered to be one of the leading tick borne disease experts in the country and has had articles published alongside researchers from Harvard Public School of Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Public Health.  

 

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a new speaker on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 as part of our summer Science-Speaker Series which will feature astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, professors, and doctors. The MMA Speaker Series is sponsored by the Bank of America, Cisco Brewers, and Don Allen Ford.  For a full schedule and description of each speaker please visit our website at mariamitchell.org. The event is free for MMA members and $10 for non-members.  

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston. 

Press Release: Dr. Duygu Özpolat

Press Release
For Immediate Release
August 21, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198, tforeman@mariamitchell.com

 

For Immediate Release: Dr. Duygu Özpolat to speak about worms at Maria Mitchell Association 

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture given by Dr. Duygu Özpolat on August 29th from 7:00-8:00pm at 33 Washington Street. Her talk,“A Worm’s Fondness for Regeneration: A Story in Several Segments” focuses on a worm’s ability to regrow body parts after losing them, making them an interesting species to study and learn about. Worms can even grow a new brain.

When worms are cut into small pieces many new worms can grow, with each piece becoming its own individual worm. It raises the questions of what cells, genes and processes are involved in this regeneration and what we, as human beings, can learn from that. Dumeril’s clam worm (Platynereis dumerilii), and sea stars have the capacity to regenerate and they represent some of the organisms that are helping to answer these fascinating questions. Dr. Özpolat will discuss her research and the understanding that worms might bring to the study of regeneration.

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a new speaker on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 as part of our summer Science-Speaker Series which will feature astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, professors, and doctors. The MMA Speaker Series is sponsored by the Bank of America, Cisco Brewers, and Don Allen Ford.  For a full schedule and description of each speaker please visit our website at mariamitchell.org. The event is free for MMA members and $10 for non-members.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston.

Press Release: Maria Mitchell Aquarium Seaside Stories

Press Release   
For Immediate Release   
August 8, 2018   
Contact: Trinity Foreman   
508-228-9198 
tforeman@mariamitchell.org   

Setse tells Seaside Stories by the Nantucket Seashore (Try Saying that Three Times Fast) Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Intern to Tell Seaside Stories at the MMA Aquarium  

Nantucket, MA – Grab a beach chair and bring your little ones to hear ocean-based stories on the harbor front by the Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium staff. Every Tuesday at 10:10am, one of the Maria Mitchell interns will read an illustrated children’s book to the group and then lead an ocean-education based discussion which will include a small arts and crafts project, aquarium specimen observation, and sometimes live animals. Children and adults alike will be able to ask questions and learn more about the ocean world right in front of them. Through these seaside narratives, children will learn more about marine life and oceanic ecosystems. Seaside stories will combine creativity, imagination, and science in a fun activity for the entire family. After the story, families can join the MMA intern on a guided tour of the Aquarium to look at and better understand the animals present in the story. It is the perfect morning for any child, from a budding scientist to a future artist.  

“Seaside Stories” are included in admission to the MMA Aquarium and other MMA properties. Simply visit the Maria Mitchell Aquarium at 28 Washington Street during story time, purchase a property pass or present your membership card, and head back to the beach to participate. A blanket will be provided to sit on, but participants can bring beach chairs or their own towels or blankets. Stories may focus on anything from scallops to hermit crabs to shore shrimp.  

Despite its small size, the MMA Aquarium has over sixty species and has a variety of educational opportunities for visitors to learn about Nantucket’s ecosystems, the biodiversity of Nantucket’s waters, animal interaction, invasive species, and ocean-related conservation efforts. The Aquarium is led by a team of MMA interns and volunteers, and houses a variety of animals found of the shores of Nantucket, including a rare orange lobster named Clementine. The Aquarium is committed to providing an educational experience for visitors, as well as a high quality of life for its inhabitants. 

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston.  

Press Release: Christy Hudak

Press Release
For Immediate Release
August 6, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org

For Immediate Release: Christy Hudak to speak about The Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale at the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association 

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture given by Christy Hudak on August 15 from 7:00-8:00 at 33 Washington Street. Her talk “Tracking the Annual Return of the North Atlantic Right Whale to Massachusetts Waters” is about the critically endangered species that was once abundant in this region. Hudak is a research associate in the Right Whale Ecology Program at the Center for Coastal Studies.

Right Whales are a critically endangered species with a total population estimated to be only about 450 whales. They have a high mortality rate and a low birth rate. The whales are in danger of becoming extinct unless steps are taken to help the populations grow. Though they are a protected species, they still suffer casualties from entanglements and ship strikes. Right Whales are a part of Nantucket’s history: they were killed in large amounts by whalers in the eighteenth and nineteenth century because the oil they produced was so prized.

Right Whales can grow up to fifty-six feet in length and in the spring, their feeding ground is Cape Cod Bay. Hudak’s research focuses on the food resources of the Right Whale, which is being impacted by climate change, another danger for Right Whales. The year 2018 has not been a good year for the population. As of April, no calves had been seen in Cape Cod Bay and the previous year contained the highest mortality rate on record; eighteen whales were found dead.

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a new speaker on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 as part of our summer Science-Speaker Series which will feature astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, professors, and doctors. The MMA Speaker Series is sponsored by the Bank of America, Cisco Brewers, and Don Allen Ford. For a full schedule and description of each speaker, please visit our website at mariamitchell.org. The event is free for MMA members and $10 for Non-Members.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston.

Press Release: Maria Mitchell Association Meteor Shower Party

Press Release
For Immediate Release
August 3, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org     

Don’t Miss the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Meteor Shower Party   

  Image result for Perseids

Nantucket, MA – On August 12 from 10:00pm-12:00am, the Maria Mitchell Association will host a free viewing party at Surfside Beach for the Perseid meteor shower. Weather permitting, there will be astronomers onsite to answer questions and explain more about the meteor shower, which will be one of the brighter meteor showers of the year. Up to sixty meteors per hour are expected to be visible.    

Meteors are the flashes of light that are visible when meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere.  A meteoroid is a space rock, ranging in size from a small grain of sand to several feet across. Travelling upwards of 45,000 miles per hour, when a meteoroid hits the Earth’s atmosphere, it experiences an extremely large drag, which slows the meteoroid down, usually burning it up completely, and in the process, producing a bright steak of light that is commonly referred to as a “shooting star.” Annual meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through the debris left over from a comet and comes into contact with many small rocks, which then enter Earth’s atmosphere. These rocks are generally the size of pebbles and burn up as they hurdle towards Earth, making them nothing to worry about, as they are unlikely to ever reach Earth’s surface.    

Meteor showers are named for the constellation in the sky from which the meteors appear to be radiating. The meteor shower taking place on August 12 is named for the constellation Perseus, which lies in the Northern sky and is home to the famous star Algol. The constellation was first recorded by a Greek astronomer in the 2nd century and is named after the mythical Greek hero, Perseus, who is probably best known for slaying Medusa and saving Andromeda from a sea monster. The star Andromeda is located near the constellation of Perseus.    

The night of August 12 should be ideal for star gazing providing the weather cooperates. The moon, which will be a small crescent, will provide very little additional light, allowing for dark skies  ̶ ideal for meteor watching.   

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a newly opened research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston.