During Your Run

Observer’s Tools

For links to tools useful during your observing run, such as log sheets, cheat sheets, almanacs, the all-sky camera, etc., please see our Tools menu. Resources about weather (current conditions or forecasts) can be found under our Weather tab. If you are in a queue-scheduled run, you can check the Scheduler Database daily for updates regarding your targets. You can also check the schedule and see how long the telescope was open or closed on each night, by looking at the green/red bar under “length”.


Please refer to the Observer’s Computing Page for information on the MMTO network, MMTO computers available for observer use, and how to connect personal machines to the MMTO network.


In order to improve your experience and to enable the very highest scientific efficiency, the MMT Observatory requests feedback from our user community. Blue Channel observers are welcome to complete the “Astronomer’s Log” on either a per night or per run basis. This log helps us address immediate issues. We also ask that you complete and return your observing form as soon as possible following your run. We welcome both praise and constructive criticism. Although our small staff cannot address every issue promptly, we do use the information to help us prioritize our activities. Finally, please feel free to communicate your problems, suggestions and successes directly to the MMTO Director Grant Williams.

Telescope Operator Hours

The telescope operator is nominally on duty from one hour before sunset to sunrise. If specifically requested, they will be available to assist with flatfielding, darks, etc. from 4 pm extending through 7 am weekdays (3 pm through 7 am weekends). If assistance is required outside this window, arrangements must be made in advance with Ricardo Ortiz, Mountain Operations Manager (520-879-4556).


There is a full kitchen in the Common Building across the road from the Bowl dorms where meals can be prepared. Also, there is a small kitchen (refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven) in the telescope facility at the summit. It is a good idea to always mark your food containers with your name and dates of your run so that the cleaning crew does not dispose of your food when cleaning the refrigerator.

Fire Safety

The potential for fire on Mt. Hopkins is high. The rugged terrain and the distance from fire departments make fire safety a high priority. Please take extra care when using grills, and dispose of cigarettes and matches in designated containers only during your stay on Mt. Hopkins. Your cooperation is much appreciated.

Water Conservation

There are water tanks at two locations on the Mt. Hopkins Road that provide water for general use and in case of fire. Water is hauled by truck to fill these tanks. The Observatory requests that everyone conserve their water usage.

Wildlife on Mt. Hopkins

A variety of wildlife might be seen on the Mt. Hopkins Road and around the MMT. Black bears, deer, coati, rattlesnakes, and possibly mountain lions and bobcats are examples of animals you might see. There are wildlife drinkers (man-made structures) in the Bowl picnic area near the Common Building that bears and other animals visit. Remember: DO NOT feed any animals, do not leave food or food containers outside, and do not allow yourself to be located between a mother bear and her cubs.

Border Patrol

Occasionally, there will be Border Patrol officers driving on the Mt. Hopkins Road. They may not be using radios. Always drive with caution and use your radio to notify others of your location and the location of other travelers who are not using radios.