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T-30 mins!

The last blog before impact (and probably for a while after the impact as I’ll be busy reducing the data we observe!)

Everything here is good – sky is clear with 0.5″ seeing! Could not have asked for a better night. We have moved back to the moon and setting up for the final time before impact.

A quick list of people you might have been watching on the webcam!

LCROSS: It all comes down to tonight...

After being involved in the LCROSS project and preparation for the ground based observations from the MMT over the last 18 months it has all come down to tonight. We have one shot at getting these observations so the nerves are running a little high in the control room!

In the last 10 minutes we have had confirmation from NASA that the centaur and payload (ie. the two halves of the rocket – the centaur will crash into the moon first with the payload carrying the instruments crashing in 4 minutes later) have separated successfully.

Countdown continues...

At 1.31am (MST) NASA will count down to T-3 hours mark for the centaur impact. We are busily working away making sure we have all our cameras aligned (we are using 4 different camera’s for different purposes tonight!), we are collecting calibration data that is vital for our science results, making sure our data reduction software works and staying in communication with NASA and all the other telescopes that are observing the event.

Watching LCROSS impact!

Want to see professional astronomers at work? We are taking the unique time of the LCROSS experiment to give you all a direct view into the world of a professional observatory for one night only!

We will be streaming images throughout the night which you can view at:

Bear Sighting

In recent weeks there has been many sightings of bears around Mt Hopkins and the observatory, including a family of three. They are often seen up in the trees munching on the ripe nuts.

On Monday morning as the day crew drove up to start their day they encountered a bear hanging out enjoying the sunshine on a rock near the road. The bear was happy to sit while Ben took a great video from the safety of his truck.

Although these bears appear to be relaxed around human presence remember they are wild animals and should be observed from a safe distance!

Gearing up to LCROSS...

The LCROSS experiment is now into its last two weeks before the impact happening in the early morning of Oct 9th (MST). We will be posting more specific information about the observing happening at the MMT in the coming days but for general information NASA’s LCROSS website is a great place to start.

Proposal Deadlines for 2010A

Applying for Observing Time at the MMTO:

Around the World in 80 Telescopes!

100hrs100hrsAs part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 the MMT Observatory will participate in the 100 Hours of Astronomy 24 hour webcast that will take place April 3rd and 4th UT.

MMT February Observing Statistics

    Time Summary

Percentage of time scheduled for observing              100.0
Percentage of time scheduled for engineering              0.0
Percentage of time scheduled for sec/instr chan           0.0

MMT Sep - Dec '08 Trimester Summary Report

To read the MMT September – December ‘08 Trimester Summary Report,
click here.