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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!

Opening for Principal Engineer, Electrical - Closed

The MMTO has an opening for a Principal Engineer, Electrical (posting #A20612). Details and an online application can be found here.

CfA Optical/Infrared Science Archive

The CfA Optical/Infrared Telescope Data Center is pleased to announce a new public archive of processed spectra obtained from CfA's ground-based telescopes. The initial release contains 200,000 spectra from the optical Hectospec spectrograph on the 6.5-m MMT; more spectra and more instruments will be added in the future. The web interface is user-friendly. The archive is virtual-observatory compliant and can also be accessed by pointing TopCat, Aladin, or other VO tools to the "CfA Hectospec" SSAP service.

MMTO at the Tucson Festival of Books!

Stop by and visit us at the Tucson Festival of Books on Sat & Sun, March 12 & 13! We will have a booth in Science City located on the east portion of the UA mall. Take a virtual tour of the MMTO using an oculus. We hope to see you there!

MMTO aids in new discovery

Astronomers at the University of Arizona and the University of Wyoming have discovered a pair of quasars at high redshift using, in part, spectra obtained at the MMTO. The quasars are surprisingly bright and close together - an unusual find that may eventually lead to a better understanding of the early growth of the most massive black holes in the universe. Whether the discovery was a chance find or whether there are many more pairs of quasars at similar distances will have to wait for a more comprehensive search. In the meantime, you can read more details here.