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Trevor C. Weekes

Dr. Trevor C. Weekes, pioneering figure in the study of very high energy gamma rays, passed away on May 26th. Dr. Weekes played key roles in the selection of the Mt. Hopkins summit as the site for the MMTO, and in gaining U.S. Forest Service permission for the summit access road to extend from the ridge to the summit. Dr. Weekes also led an observatory outreach program with the surrounding communities and started the Smithsonian Lectures on Astronomy series. Read more.

Close Companions to Two High-Redshift Quasars

I. McGreer (Steward Observatory) and his collaborators have reported the serendipitous discovery of companion galaxies to two high-redshift quasars, one of which was identified with observations using the MMT's Red Channel Spectrograph! Both companions are among the brightest galaxies known at these large distances, and the detection of such objects is rare. Their new evidence suggests that the two pairs are enormous galaxies in the final stages of merging together. Read more.

Mt. Hopkins Road Closure - May 1 - 2

Culvert work will be done on the Mt. Hopkins Road at the km 9.5 area this week. The road will be open at the following times only: 8:00-8:30am, noon-12:30pm, and 4:00pm-7:00am. It will be open over the weekend.

May - August MMT Observing Schedule

The observing schedule for May through August has been posted, along with program titles.

Discovery of First Hypervelocity Globular Cluster

SAO scientist Nelson Caldwell has used the MMT and Hectospec instrument to discover the first hypervelocity globular cluster, located near the central galaxy of the Virgo Cluster. Read more.

Three New Hypervelocity Stars Discovered

Using the MMT's Blue Channel Spectrograph, SAO scientist Warren Brown has completed a survey of Milky Way hypervelocity stars, resulting in the discovery of three new objects. Read more.

March 18 & 19 - Mt Hopkins Road Closures

On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18 & 19, potholing work will be done on the Mt. Hopkins Road at one location near km 5.5 and two locations near km 9.5. The road will be closed at 8:30am, open between noon-12:30pm, closed from 12:30-4:00pm, and reopen at 4:00pm. Power will also be disconnected at 7:00am and turned back on after 4:00pm each day. The motor generator will provide power during the day.

There will be two additional road openings during the day on March 19 to accommodate the tour bus, if needed.

Astronomy Magazine Editor Visits MMTO

Astronomy Magazine editor, David Eicher, recently visited the MMTO and the Whipple Observatory. Read about his visit in his blog and be sure to look at his photo gallery at the end of his blog!

Thursday, March 6 - Mt. Hopkins Rd. Closure

Mt. Hopkins Road will be closed for most of the day on Thursday, March 6, starting at 9:00am. It will be open from noon - 12:30pm, then closed again until 4:00pm. Contractors will be digging holes to locate power lines near 5.5 km. Utility power will be disconnected while this work is being performed with power provided by generator during this time.

Mt. Hopkins Road - Currently open through Monday, March 17

Road repair work is continuing on the Mt. Hopkins Road intermittently in March around km 5.5 and km 12.  When scheduled, work will be conducted on weekdays, with the road usually scheduled to be open before 8:30am, from noon-12:30pm, and after 4:00pm, although it might vary day to day. The road will be open on weekends. Observers will receive emails giving the current status of the road before and during their observing runs.