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Work on Mt. Hopkins Road Between Summit and Ridge Area

Starting on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, road paving maintenance will begin on Mt. Hopkins Rd. between the Summit and the Ridge (around km 17) and will be completed by approximately Nov. 9.  The road in this area will be accessible with no delays at 8:00am, 12-12:30pm, and after 4:00pm each week day.  It will be accessible between those times but with possible long delays.  No work will be done on weekends.  The work crews will have FLWO radios.

Tucson and Urban Stargazers

For a fun report on some local professional and amateur astronomers, read this NPR report.

MMTO in the News

A recent article in the LA Times discusses the potential impact of mining upon nearby observatories.  You can read the article here.

Dark Skies Waning

A documentary entitled "The City Dark" is currently being shown on PBS channels. For local comments, Arizona Public Media interviewed Grant Williams, MMTO Director, and Scott Kardel of the International Dark-Sky Association. To hear their comments and to learn more about the documentary, click here.

Summer Conferences

MMTO personnel are participating in the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the Society of Photo-0ptical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) conferences this summer.  One staff member attended and presented a poster at the June AAS meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.  Four staff members attended and presented five posters at the July SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Collecting Light: An Exploration of Arizona Astronomy

A series of special reports on astronomy in Arizona called "Collecting Light" was recently aired by Arizona Public Media.  Click here to see the list of topics.  The MMT Observatory is featured in Part 3: The Age of the Giant Telescope.

Annular Eclipse

Photos taken from the MMT Observatory of the May 20th annular eclipse, looking toward Kitt Peak National Observatory. Click on the image to view in a larger format. 

Network Upgrades at the MMTO

Over the past year, the MMTO mountain facilities and campus offices have undergone network upgrades.  Completed upgrades include: CAT 6 cabling; installation of CISCO gigabit network switches and CISCO wireless routers for mountain operations; upgrade of microwave link between the campus office and the summit; installation of fiber connections between the network switch within the MMTO drive room and 2nd and 3rd floors; VOIP phones at the MMT/summit; and segregating Univ. of Arizona, Smithsonian Institution, and MMTO network traffic. For more details, click on the title above.

New Bridge Crane Installed

A new 3-ton bridge crane with wireless controls was installed in the telescope chamber at the MMTO in April. The previous bridge crane, also 3-tons, had been at the MMTO since 1978. Installation of the new crane was a tedious process, requiring the entire bridge to be taken out with the old crane attached, swapping out the old and new cranes in the parking lot and then re-installing the whole new bridge crane unit.

Status of Primary Mirror Re-Aluminization

We will re-aluminize the primary mirror during summer shutdown 2013.  While we had planned to do it this summer, we feel our success will be optimized by waiting another year while we continue with our preparations, meetings, and discussions among staff and with other colleagues.  Due to this, we'll have a normal  shutdown period this summer, beginning on July 24 and resuming operations on August 21.