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Summer Conferences

MMTO personnel are participating in the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the Society of Photo-0ptical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) conferences this summer.  One staff member attended and presented a poster at the June AAS meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.  Four staff members attended and presented five posters at the July SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Collecting Light: An Exploration of Arizona Astronomy

A series of special reports on astronomy in Arizona called "Collecting Light" was recently aired by Arizona Public Media.  Click here to see the list of topics.  The MMT Observatory is featured in Part 3: The Age of the Giant Telescope.

Network Upgrades at the MMTO

Over the past year, the MMTO mountain facilities and campus offices have undergone network upgrades.  Completed upgrades include: CAT 6 cabling; installation of CISCO gigabit network switches and CISCO wireless routers for mountain operations; upgrade of microwave link between the campus office and the summit; installation of fiber connections between the network switch within the MMTO drive room and 2nd and 3rd floors; VOIP phones at the MMT/summit; and segregating Univ. of Arizona, Smithsonian Institution, and MMTO network traffic. For more details, click on the title above.

New Bridge Crane Installed

A new 3-ton bridge crane with wireless controls was installed in the telescope chamber at the MMTO in April. The previous bridge crane, also 3-tons, had been at the MMTO since 1978. Installation of the new crane was a tedious process, requiring the entire bridge to be taken out with the old crane attached, swapping out the old and new cranes in the parking lot and then re-installing the whole new bridge crane unit.

Status of Primary Mirror Re-Aluminization

We will re-aluminize the primary mirror during summer shutdown 2013.  While we had planned to do it this summer, we feel our success will be optimized by waiting another year while we continue with our preparations, meetings, and discussions among staff and with other colleagues.  Due to this, we'll have a normal  shutdown period this summer, beginning on July 24 and resuming operations on August 21.

 

Economic Impact of Astronomy to Arizona

In 2007, the Arizona Arts, Science and Technology Academy (AASTA) analyzed the economic importance of astronomy, space sciences and planetary sciences research to Arizona.  The study was published in January 2008.  To read more, click here



Exciting Binary Discovered with the MMT

Warren Brown, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts made the exciting discovery, while observing at the MMT, of two white dwarfs circling each other every 12 minutes.  Follow the link for many more details.

Work resumes on July 25 on Mt Hopkins Road

Installation of additional guardrails will resume on Monday, July 25 by SMR on Mt. Hopkins Road around the 5 km area.  Work will be done during weekdays.

Mt. Hopkins Road will be OPEN during the following times:
Before 6:30 a.m.
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. (Only 15 minutes - be waiting near the 5 km area to drive through)
12:00 noon - 12:30 p.m.
After 4:00 p.m. until the next morning at 6:30 a.m.

Mt Hopkins Road re-opened

The Forest Service re-opened Mt Hopkins Road on July 12 for public use to km 13.  Fire restrictions are still in place: no smoking, charcoal grills, firearms, etc.  Work on guardrail installation near km 5 is planned to resume soon with the previous road closure times instituted again.  A notice will be posted when the dates are confirmed for this work to continue.

Fire Procedure Update

Per the Nogales District Forest Service Fire Chief, Shane Lyman, effective immediately, if a fire breaks out on or near Mt. Hopkins, observers and staff should evacuate immediately from the mountain.  If a fire occurs on the road between the summit and the Administration Complex, observers and staff should go to the MMT at the summit.  The 2011 Mt. Hopkins Fire Action Plan and the MMTO Fire Procedures can be found here