Maria Mitchell Observatory
The Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket is an island south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States. Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the coterminous Nantucket County, which are consolidated. Part of the town is designated the Nantucket...

, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, USA, was founded in 1908 and named in honor of American astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 Maria Mitchell
Maria Mitchell
Maria Mitchell was an American astronomer, who in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as the "Miss Mitchell's Comet". She won a gold medal prize for her discovery which was presented to her by King Frederick VII of Denmark. The medal said “Not in vain do...

. It is a major component of the Maria Mitchell Association
Maria Mitchell Association
The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization on the island of Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts. The association owns the Maria Mitchell Observatory, a second observatory , a Natural History Museum, an aquarium at Nantucket Harbor, a history museum that is the...

. The Observatory actually consists of two observatories - the main Maria Mitchell Observatory near downtown Nantucket and the Loines Observatory about a kilometer west of town.

The observatory has extensive public education programs and sponsors research by undergraduate students, funded by the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

. It also houses a large collection of glass photographic plate
Photographic plate
Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a means of photography. A light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts was applied to a glass plate. This form of photographic material largely faded from the consumer market in the early years of the 20th century, as more convenient and less fragile...

s, recording sky observations from 1910 to 1995.


Vladimir Strelnitski, an active member of the International Astronomical Union
International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

, is the current Director of the Observatories (chief astronomer) of the Maria Mitchell Observatory. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles about astronomy. One of his research interests is the astrophysical maser
Astrophysical maser
An astrophysical maser is a naturally occurring source of stimulated spectral line emission, typically in the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum...

. However, he also participates in a wide range of other research, from the monitoring of extrasolar planets, data reduction software writing, to variable star research. His mentoring at the observatories has won national
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

recognition for the education of women astronomers. Strelnitski is also a nationally ranked master's athlete.

External links

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