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Aluminization Preparations

On July 26, MMT staff stripped the aluminum coating from our 6.5m mirror to prepare for its realuminization in a few weeks. Using various cleaning agents, some mopped while others sprayed. Soon only a small portion of coating remained, revealing the honeycomb structure beneath the glass. Read more.

Observing Schedule

The September-December MMT observing schedule and program titles can be found here.

 

SHELS

The SHELS (Smithsonian Hectospec Lensing Survey) is a complete galaxy redshift survey covering two fields. The first field, available here, was recently published by astrophysicist Margaret Geller (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics). It includes over 9000 new galaxy redshifts obtained with the Hectospec instrument on the MMT. The two well-separated fields provide an amazing database for future studies of galaxy properties and the large-scale structure of the Universe.

Opening for Assistant Staff Scientist - Closed

The MMTO has an opening for an Assistant Staff Scientist (posting #A20787). Details and an online application can be found here.

Summer Shutdown

The MMTO is in summer shutdown. Work has started on prepping the mirror for stripping, scheduled to take place on July 26. Check back here for pictures! Realuminization will follow in a few weeks. We will reopen for scheduled observing on September 27.

MACT Survey

Astronomers have recently concluded the Metal Abundances across Cosmic Time (MACT) Survey, led by UofA alum Dr. Chun Ly, using data from the MMTO and Hectospec. These new observations are crucial for characterizing the physical conditions and properties of gas in galaxies over time. This temperature-based metallicity study of nearly 160 galaxies is the first to span 8 billion years of cosmic time to understand the chemical enrichment and evolution of these galaxies. Read more about the new results here and here.

Successful Coating Tests

In early May, the MMTO staff completed two full scale coating system tests. Utilizing the bell jar assembly at base camp, the coating system provided a 1050 Å thick coating (recorded at the two center deposition monitors that correspond to the center of the primary mirror) on May 4 and a 1150 Å thick coating on May 11. This critical milestone in preparation for the 2016 primary mirror realuminization was the first time all ten filament arrays containing the new style filaments had been fired using the MMTO-developed control software.

Hypervelocity Stars in the Milky Way

Appearing in the June issue of Physics Today is an article by Warren Brown (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) describing his research on hypervelocity stars conducted in part at the MMT Observatory.

Summit Road is open

The summit road is open. Any updates will be posted here as we receive them.

Spectroscopic Survey Follow-Up

Astronomers from Flagstaff, AZ have released a spectacular follow-up paper to the landmark Local Group Galaxy Survey (LGGS), publishing MMT Hectospec data of over 1800 stars in the nearby galaxies M31 and M33. Many of these stars are classified for the first time, with the discovery of some unusual types of massive stars. Read their paper for more information!