Press Release: REU Student Presentations

Press Release
For Immediate Release
August 2, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org 

For Immediate Release: Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Astronomy Interns to Present on Research Projects Conducted at Maria Mitchell Observatory in Summer 2018 

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a research presentation on August 8 from 7:00-8:00 at 33 Washington Street. For more than fifty years, the Maria Mitchell Observatory (MMO) has offered summer research opportunities in astronomy and astrophysics for students on Nantucket. Six students will present their individual research projects developed under the guidance of experienced astronomers. Students will later present their research at the American Astronomical Society. The Astronomy intern positions are funded by the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program which is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

Maria Mitchell believed in learning-by-doing thus the hands on learning involved in research opportunities such as this one at the MMA/MMO follow Maria Mitchell’s philosophy on education. The Maria Mitchell Observatory is recognized as being a leader in shaping future astronomers and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama in 2009.  

Current areas of research include formation and evolution of stars and galaxies; groups and clusters of galaxies, stellar populations, star clusters, astrophysical masers and lasers; cosmology and the early universe; and the history of astronomy. Each MMA student is working on an individualized project under the guidance of experienced astronomers, as well as a collaborative team project. All of the projects are focused on student leadership and original research that will produce publishable results. The students share the results of their research at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society where three students in recent years have won the prestigious AAS Chambliss Awards. They also share their research at other conferences and in peer reviewed journals.     

The Maria Mitchell Association has been hosting speakers on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 as part of its summer Science Speaker Series, featuring 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 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. Martha Hanner

Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 27, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org   

Dr. Martha Hanner Will Discuss NASA’s Stardust Probe at the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association’s Weekly Speaker Series   Image result for martha hanner

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture by Dr. Martha Hanner on Thursday, August 9 from 7:00-8:00pm at 2 Vestal Street as part of its Summer Science Speaker Series. Dr. Hanner will discuss the mission of NASA’s Stardust probe which launched in 1999, travelled to a distant comet, collected dust samples from that comet, and returned them to Earth in January of 2006. It was an unprecedented accomplishment and took the probe four years and 2.12 billion miles to accomplish its task. Dr. Hanner is a retired Senior Research Scientist from the Earth and Space Sciences Division at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is also graduate of Wellesley College, Class of 1963, and obtained her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1969. She has co-authored over 100 scientific publications.  

Her talk, “The Stardust Mission: Snatching a Sample of a Comet,” will focus on the discoveries regarding the early formation of the universe and how comets have shaped the formation of the Earth, possibly providing water and the beginning of life to the planet. Additionally, Dr. Hanner will speculate what this information could mean for the future. Comets are frozen, unchanged moments of history that could provide scientists with incredible insight into the past. Wild 2, the target of the Stardust probe, is a particularly interesting comet to research because it has spent most of its existence in the outer solar system, farther away from the sun, leaving it in more pristine condition than other potential targets. The capsule used to bring the dust back to Earth is now on display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Although the Stardust mission ended in 2011, Dr. Hanner’s talk will lend insight into the value and legacy of this exciting mission.   

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a summer Science Speaker Series on Wednesday evenings and select other evenings from 7:00-8:00 PM, which will feature astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, researchers, and others each week throughout the summer. 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: Pop-up Science Cart

Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 27, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org

Catch “Pop Up Science” at Your Favorite Town Locations All Summer Long

Nantucket, MA – All this summer the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is sending a “Pop Up Science” cart around the island thanks to a generous grant from the Nantucket Community Foundation’s ReMain Nantucket Fund. Pop Up Science can pop-up anywhere in town to provide family oriented science experiments every weekday, unless it’s raining. There are exciting and engaging demonstrations and experiments for the audience to try themselves, birds from the MMA’s Education Collection, paper airplane contests, and on Tuesdays there will be an aquarium touch tank. Experiments include testing everyday liquids to see if they are acids or bases, demonstrating inertia, using solar energy, learning about birds, exploring magnetism, making a homemade lava lamp while learning about density, and much more. And, there are prizes!

The locations change throughout the week as Pop Up Science moves about town. Most days it will “pop up” in the afternoon but one day a week visitors might find the cart while getting their morning coffee at a favorite local coffee shop. Some days the cart might be a little more “British” than usual, and some days one might find the cart while shopping for outdoor gear or while perusing a book in the same place where Maria Mitchell was the first librarian. Look for the cart and stop by to watch the show and learn something new about science.

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: Sarah McGrath

Press Release

For Immediate Release
July 24, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org

 

 Former Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Natural Science Museum Intern to Speak at Weekly Science Speaker Series

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture on Maria Mitchell’s 200th Birthday – August 1 – at 7:00 PM by former MMA intern, Sarah McGrath. The talk will focus on the importance of the microbiome and taking lessons from the world of amphibians.  It will be held at 33 Washington Street.

Sarah McGrath is a National Geographic Young Explorer and collaborator at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. McGrath is a graduate student in Biology at James Madison University where she is conducting research surrounding the amphibian microbiome. Her work focuses on how tadpoles develop their microbiome to potentially generate a better way to help conserve amphibian populations, which are one of the fastest declining vertebrates on the planet. She is conducting fieldwork in Brunei, a very small country on the island of Borneo in Asia.

McGrath will discuss the importance of her research and how an unlikely amphibian, a frog, might offer incredible insight into our own bodies, immune systems, diets, and even behavior. She will discuss the answers to questions and how those questions might be answered by the study of frogs such as, “Where do our microbes come from and why do some remain in a particular habitat while others simply pass through? Is it how or where we were born or where we live that makes the most impact on our microbiome and subsequently our 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: Artist Cindy Pease Roe

Press Release  

For Immediate Release
July 24, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org  

  

Artist Cindy Pease Roe To Hold “Up-Cycling” Workshops at the  

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association 

 Image result for cindy pease roe whale

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association has teamed up with the Nantucket Artists Association to bring artist Cindy Pease Roe to Nantucket. She will be holding three workshops in which participants can create their own art with plastic debris collected from the ocean and beaches. Pease Roe has combined her passion for art with her passion for protecting marine life and uses sculpture to discuss and illuminate the negative impact of plastic waste on the ocean and sealife. Plastic waste in the ocean’s ecosystem is harmful to humans who consume micro plastics found in fish, as well as over one hundred thousand marine animals that are killed by this pollution every year.  

On Wednesday, August 15, there will be a workshop to create upcycled whale sculptures. It will be held at 33 Washington Street from 9:30-11:30am and is for anyone ages 6 and up; children must be accompanied by an adult. The cost for adults is $85 for MMA Members and $100 for Non-Members. For children it is $75 for Members and $90 for Non-Members.  

“Wine and Mobiles” with Cindy Pease Roe will be held twice this summer. The first event will be held on Thursday, August 9 from 6:30-8:00pm at the Artists Association of Nantucket located at 24 Amelia Drive. The second event will be held on Thursday, August 16 from 5:30-7:00pm at the MMA’s property located at 33 Washington Street. . Pre-registration is required for both these events.

Pease Roe uses plastics from the ocean to create her whale sculptures and other forms of art to spread awareness about the invasion of plastics in the ocean. Through the workshops, participants will be able to create their own art, learn more about the prevailing issue of plastics in the ocean, and leave with their own art and new knowledge with the hope that they will continue spreading the word about the problem to others. Pease Roe has held popular art workshops on Nantucket in the past.  They have been well-received and eye-opening for the participants which prompted the Maria Mitchell Association to make sure to include more of these events on its schedule for this summer.

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: Dava Sobel

Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 13, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198,
tforeman@mariamitchell.org 

 

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association and the Nantucket Historical Association Partner to Bring Noted Author Dava Sobel to Nantucket 

Image result for dava sobel

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is co-hosting ̶ with the Nantucket Historical Association  ̶ a lecture on July 25, 2018 at 7:00 PM by Dava Sobel at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. This talk will be $25 for all attendees and tickets are available via the NHA’s website or by calling them directly at 228.1894. Sobel is the author of numerous books and articles, her most recent being The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory took the Measure of the Stars. She has worked as a New York Times science reporter and contributed to Harvard Magazine, AudubonDiscover, Life, Omni, and The New Yorker.  

Her newest book, The Glass Universe, was a New York Times Review Notable Book of 2017. It tells the story of the women who were hired as computers at the Harvard College Observatory from the late-1800s to mid-1900s. The director, Edward Pickering, believed that women were more conscientious and exacting workers. They worked in critical positions in the observatory and contributed to numerous scientific discoveries, including the development of the Draper Classification for stars, a star classification system that was adopted world-wide.  As photography developed, the women were able to move away from calculating and began observing the night sky themselves. These women were able to determine what stars were made of, calculate the distances between stars, and categorize the stars. Some of the women went on to discover stars and even teach astronomy at Harvard, following in similar footsteps to Maria Mitchell.  The Glass Universe has won critical acclaim. 

Sobel, an award-winning author, has combined literature and the history of science in her books, including Galileo’s Daughter, which focuses on another woman, a nun, and her relationship to religion and her father’s, Galileo’s, scientific work.  Sobel is most noted for her book Longitude – about the prize to develop chronometers in the eighteenth century that would allow longitude to be determined at sea, thus helping to reduce shipwrecks.  

Tickets can be purchased online at nha.org or by calling 508-228-1894. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture.  

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a summer Science Speaker Series on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 PM, which will feature astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, researchers, and others each week throughout the summer. For a full schedule and description of each speaker, please visit our website at mariamitchell.org. These events are 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: Free Fun Fridays

Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 10, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org

Free Fun Friday – All Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Facilities Free on Friday, July 20, 2018

Image result for free fun fridays

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Associations (MMA) is thrilled to announce that all of its facilities will be open to the public for free on Friday, July 20, 2018 thanks to a generous grant from the Free Fun Friday Initiative, a program started and run by the Highland Street Foundation. Hundreds of institutions across the state will be participating in Free Fun Fridays throughout the summer, taking turns offering free admission to their properties. This includes the Boston Children’s Museum, Plimoth Planation, and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture.

The MMA’s Free Fun Friday will include free admission to all of the MMA facilities. At the Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium at 28 Washington Street visitors can observe and learn about local fish, crabs, and the rare blue and orange lobsters. The Natural Science Museum at 7 Milk Street is home to live animals such as turtles, snakes, and a tortoise and provides insight into the natural history and unique ecosystems of Nantucket Island. The Mitchell House, 1 Vestal Street, where Maria Mitchell was born and raised as a member of a Quaker family in the nineteenth century, provides visitors with an understanding of how Maria Mitchell’s family lived and how. Mitchell became the fiercely independent and educated woman that she was at a time when that was unusual in most of America.  The Vestal Street Observatory at 3 Vestal will also provide its 2PM-only tour free on this Free Fun Friday. And if it is a clear night that evening, people can look through the research- grade telescopes to observe the night sky at the Loines Observatory at 59 Milk Street Extension.

The Free Fun Friday Program was created by the Highland Street Foundation to increase access and enrichment programs to children in Massachusetts. All of the venues offer free admission to everyone. The program started in 2009 and since then, more than 900,000 visitors have visited the participating venues as part of the Free Fun Friday initiative.

Maria Mitchell properties are always free for members but are $10 for a property pass and $10 for Open Nights at Loines Observatory. David Gagnon, the Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association said that “On July 20, you can experience, learn, discover, and ignite a passion for science and history as you visit the Maria Mitchell Association’s facilities for free. Free Fun Fridays provides an awesome way to experience the science, education, and fun that the MMA has to offer.”

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: M. Darby Dyar

Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 10, 2018
Contact: Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
tforeman@mariamitchell.org
For Immediate Release 

 

Mt. Holyoke Professor M. Darby Dyar to Speak at the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association  

Image result for darby dyar

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture on July 18at 7:00 PM by Mount Holyoke College Professor of Astronomy M. Darby Dyar. The talk will be held at 33 Washington Street and is entitled “Venus: Our Misunderstood Sister.” Dyar received her Ph.D. from MIT and is currently the Chair of Astronomy at Mount Holyoke College. She has published over 200 papers in leading scientific journals.   

Her talk will focus on the planet Venus and its similarities to Earth. Venus is similar in size to our planet and recent evidence suggests the possibility of current volcanism and plate tectonics on its surface. It also has a similar density, mass, and gravity to Earth. With possible future missions to Venus, scientists hope to be able to answer questions about the geological evolution of the planet’s surface. Focusing on the runaway greenhouse gas effect that is present in Venus’s atmosphere could provide insight into global warming on Earth, an important issue in today’s world. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, despite not being the closest to the sun, and its atmosphere is made up primarily of carbon dioxide  ̶ the greenhouse gas that is steadily increasing on Earth and contributing to climate change. The temperature on Venus is estimated to be about 870 degrees Fahrenheit. NASA emphasizes this as hot enough to melt lead. Despite its extreme climate, some scientists believe that at one point in the past Venus might have been habitable, making understanding the evolution of Venus important for understanding the potential future fate of our own planet. 

The Maria Mitchell Association hosts the summer Science Speaker Series each Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:00 PM, in addition to a few other special evenings. Speakers include astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, researchers, and others. 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: Henry Lappen

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

 

“A Passion for Birds” and “The Incredible Complexity of Trees”
Performances by Henry Lappen

Image result for henry lappen

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a performance entitled, “A Passion for Birds” by Henry Lappen to be held at 2:00 pm on July 10, 2018 at the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club and at 5:00 pm on July 12, 2018 at the First Congregational Church at 62 N. Centre Street.

In “A Passion for Birds,” Lappen, an environmental educator and journalist, will encourage audience participation to explore how birds adapt to their environment and how that impacts the ways that birds appear. Masks and audience participation are central to the performance. The show incorporates Lappen’s love of birds with his comedic training. The cost is $10 for MMA Members and $15 for Non-Members. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Nantucket Cultural Council which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  

Lappen will also speak at the MMA Summer Science Speaker Series on July 10th at 7:00 PM at 33 Washington Street. The talk, “The Incredible Complexity of Trees,” will focus on the inner workings of trees, including everything from hormones to sap, to a tree’s hydraulic systems. In addition to his work and interests, Lappen e serves as the chair of the Amherst, MA Public Shade Tree Committee which, “preserves, protects, and promotes town shade trees” in order to “provide beauty, shade, breathable air, pure ground water, stable soil, and habitat for wildlife.”He has spoken out on a number of issues surrounding trees, including trees versus solar panels, arguing that trees and solar panels can coexist and it is not necessary for property owners to cut down trees in order to use the sun as a power source. Trees are an important part of the ecosystem and contribute to the quality of human life as well. They capture and store carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, that is contributing to climate change, making them natural protectors of our planet and cleaners of the air that we breathe. They also help to prevent erosion and flooding, and they actually cool the air around them, as well as provide shade and habitats for bugs and animals.

The Maria Mitchell Association hosts the summer Science Speaker Series each Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:00 PM, in addition to a few other special evenings.  Speakers include astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, researchers, and others. 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. Suvi Gezari

Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 26, 2018
Contact:  Trinity Foreman
508-228-9198
 orgtforeman@mariamitchell.com  

  

For Immediate Release: Dr. Suvi Gezari will Discuss “Hungry Black Holes” at Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association’s Weekly Speaker Series  Image result for dr suvi gezari

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is hosting a lecture on Tuesday, July 10, at 7:00 PM by Dr. Suvi Gezari. The talk is entitled “Hungry Black Holes” and will be held at 2 Vestal Street in the newly opened MMA Research Center. Dr. Gezari is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maryland and was a Maria Mitchell Observatory National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) student in 1998. She will talk about an increase in technology and surveying equipment that is changing the ways that scientists are able to study the night sky. Supermassive black holes (SMBHs), which often reside in the centers of galaxies and light up while consuming and digesting stars and gas, are being watched through the increasing capabilities of time domain observations which can help astronomers understand their mass, spin, and binarity.   

Almost everyone has heard of black holes, a mysterious part of space that brings to mind a dangerous, hovering void. Black holes, however, are actually areas that contain an incredible amount of matter, and are not an empty space, as the name seems to suggest. Most black holes are created after a supernova explosion and the resulting death of a large star. So much mass is forced into too small of a space, resulting in an incredibly strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape. Black holes can also result from stellar collisions. These black holes are even larger, about ten to twenty-four times as massive as our own sun.   

At the center of almost every massive galaxy is a supermassive black hole, the largest variety of black hole. Each supermassive black hole has a mass that is millions to billions times that of the sun. There is one at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. It is this variety of black hole that Dr. Gezari will be focusing on in her lecture.   

The Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting a summer Science Speaker Series on Wednesday evenings and other special evenings, such as Dr. Gezari’s on the evening of Tuesday, July 10, from 7:00-8:00 PM, which will feature astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, researchers, and others each week throughout the summer. 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.