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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.
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.
The summit road is open. Any updates will be posted here as we receive them.
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!
The MMTO has an opening for a Principal Engineer, Electrical (posting #A20612). Details and an online application can be found here.
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.
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!
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.
The speaker for the final lecture of this series will be Dr. Emilio Falco of the F.L. Whipple Observatory. His talk is entitled "The Newest Droll Star." It will be at 9:00am at the Green Valley Recreation Center and is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there for this final lecture!
The renovations at the Elephant Head Road bridge are nearly finished and the bridge is mostly open. Traffic might still be directed to use the bypass bridge located next to the main bridge if some work is taking place.