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MMTAO In the News

Listen to Michael Lloyd-Hart discuss MMT adaptive optics and the multiple laser guide star system for large telescopes on Arizona PodCats at:

Elevation Tracking Report

The MMT elevation tracking has been evaluated for the 3rd trimester of 2008 and was found to be at a median of 0.065″ +/- 0.04″. There is a lower limit to the tracking smoothness at about 0.02″, or +/- 2 encoder counts, with a non-linear dependence on the tracking rate. Wind rejection remains an issue, with tracking degradation a (nearly linear) function of the wind speed, regardless of the telescope position.

Applying for Observing Time -2009B

2009B:  1st May  2009 – 31th July 2009


Apply through Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (here)

  • Deadline: NOON (EST) Tues 24th Feb, 2009


Apply through University of Arizona Observatories (here)

Mt. Hopkins Road Closure - Feb. 2

Another section of Mt. Hopkins Road will have guardrails installed beginning Monday, February 2 around kilometer 4. 

Although the installation will be around km 4, a section between km 2.2 (by the astronomy vista) and km 4.2 will be closed.   There is room to turn around at these locations.

Road closures:  Monday through Friday
7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
8:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

MMT Trimester Report

To read the MMT May – August ‘08 Trimester Summary Report, click here.

Megacam Manual Updated

The Megacam manual has been updated AND moved to a CfA wiki at:

Megacam Manual

Thanks to J. Bechtold, B. McLeod and D. Curley. We will continue to update the manual and always appreciate suggestions from Megacam observers.

Instrument Change Movie!

At the MMT we do a lot of juggling of our three secondary mirrors & our current suite of 13 instruments. Over the last couple of years we have become so efficient at doing secondary/instrument changes that it is a task that is normally never seen by the astronomers as everything is completed before they arrive at the telescope. To give you all a small insight into the effort it takes to reconfigure the telescope we have put together this little movie for your viewing pleasure.

Mysterious changes and weather seen on distant dwarf planet

Signs of Weather Seen on Dwarf Planet

Strange weather on the icy dwarf planet Eris could be causing changes that scientists are now seeing at the methane-ice surface of this distant object in our solar system.

A team of researchers examined data on Eris collected from the MMT Observatory in Arizona.  They specifically looked at concentrations of methane ice based on light-reflection and absorption information.