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Historical Photo of the MMTO

By admin - Posted on 29 September 2014

In 1981, a photograph was taken of the sun rising behind the original MMTO from a small telescope located on Kitt Peak, nearly 47 miles away. Read the interesting background regarding the photo, which now hangs in the newly furnished and upgraded MMTO control room.

On November 22, 1981, Mr. Frank Recely photographed the Sun rising behind the MMT Observatory, using the 10 cm Razdow telescope on Kitt Peak, ~47 miles line of sight west of Mt. Hopkins. Mr. Recely, an NOAA employee stationed at the National Solar Observatory on Kitt Peak, was the chief synoptic observer for space weather forecasting. The telescope was loaned by NOAA and was originally built in the 1960s as part of a network of such instruments funded by NASA during the Apollo program to warn astronauts about dangerous solar flares. It was equipped with an H-alpha birefringent (Lyot) filter with 0.5 Angstrom bandwidth and was manufactured by Halle. For many years this picture hung outside the entrance of the control room for the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. In June 2013, it was given to Dr. Don McCarthy, who donated it to the MMT Observatory along with this caption based on input from Dr. Jacques Beckers (the MMT's first Director and solar physicist) and Dr. Jack Harvey (Astronomer at NSO).

A color-adjusted photo was created by Dallan Porter of the MMTO staff.