You are hereBlogs

Blogs


Tours

Reservations for tours are now being taken for the months of October and November. They will take place on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tours end in mid-November due to weather concerns and resume in mid-March. Various maintenance activities are currently continuing, resulting in no tours scheduled during September. Please call 520-879-4407 to make a reservation or for more information.

White Dwarf Mergers

Read about new developments regarding merging white dwarfs that were first discovered from observations taken at the MMTO.

MMTO Observing Schedule

The observing schedule for August 22-December 31, along with program titles, can be found here.

Summer Tour Update

Summer tours are currently on hold due to road work scheduled for the Mt. Hopkins Road. We appreciate your patience while the needed maintenance is taking place. Current plans are to resume the tours in September. Updates will be posted here so check back!

Summer Shutdown Schedule

Summer shutdown began on Tuesday, July 25. The observatory will reopen on Tuesday, August 22.


Small Fire on Mt. Wrightson - Officially Out

The Forest Service declared the small lightning-caused fire on Mt. Wrightson officially over as of 11:00pm on July 4. It began in the afternoon on July 2 on the west side of Mt. Wrightson. On July 3, the Forest Service conducted 3 successful water drops by helicopter. The burn area appeared to remain relatively small.

Binospec Instrument

MMTO staff have been preparing for the arrival this fall of the Binospec instrument, a wide-field multi-object optical imaging-spectrograph. A place in the common building basement is also being prepared for the slit mask cutter. More information on the instrument can be found here.

Parking Lot Work at the MMT

Improvements to the summit parking lot began mid-March to create a pathway allowing easier movement of instruments between the Instrument Repair Facility (IRF) and main MMT building. The pathway is completed, but remains covered to ensure best results for the final condition of the concrete.

May 19 - A Night Under the Stars

Join ShiAnne Kattner, MMTO queue observer, on Friday, May 19 at the historic Hacienda de la Canoa for her presentation on the total solar eclipse that will occur on August 21. Her presentation is at 6:30pm with stargazing following at 7:30pm (weather permitting), courtesy of the Sonora Astronomical Society. The Hacienda is located south of Tucson near Green Valley, following the Canoa Ranch Dr., exit 56, off I-19. A map and more details can be found here.

Adaptive Optics Upgrade

The f/15 secondary and adaptive optics (AO) system at the MMTO will be temporarily unavailable while the system is being upgraded as part of an NSF-funded project. The last observing run with the system prior to the upgrade was March 9-14. The upgraded system should see first light in approximately 18 months. Design and initial development has started on the new electronics for the deformable mirror (DM), the PCR reconstructor, the user software interface, the ARIES instrument upgrades (PIs D. McCarthy and C. Kulesa), and the refurbishment of the optical test bench for DM calibration.