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Summer Tour Update

Summer tours are currently on hold due to pending road work scheduled for the Mt. Hopkins Road. We appreciate your patience while the needed maintenance is taking place. Current plans are to resume the tours in September. Updates will be posted here so check back!

Updated Observing Schedule

An updated May - August MMT observing schedule, along with Program Titles, can be found here. Summer shutdown begins on Tuesday, July 25. The observatory will reopen on Tuesday, August 22.

Binospec Instrument

MMTO staff have been preparing for the arrival this fall of the Binospec instrument, a wide-field multi-object optical imaging-spectrograph. A place in the common building basement is also being prepared for the slit mask cutter. More information on the instrument can be found here.

Parking Lot Work at the MMT

Improvements to the summit parking lot began mid-March to create a pathway allowing easier movement of instruments between the Instrument Repair Facility (IRF) and main MMT building. The pathway is completed, but remains covered to ensure best results for the final condition of the concrete.


May 19 - A Night Under the Stars

Join ShiAnne Kattner, MMTO queue observer, on Friday, May 19 at the historic Hacienda de la Canoa for her presentation on the total solar eclipse that will occur on August 21. Her presentation is at 6:30pm with stargazing following at 7:30pm (weather permitting), courtesy of the Sonora Astronomical Society. The Hacienda is located south of Tucson near Green Valley, following the Canoa Ranch Dr., exit 56, off I-19. A map and more details can be found here.

Adaptive Optics Upgrade

The f/15 secondary and adaptive optics (AO) system at the MMTO will be temporarily unavailable while the system is being upgraded as part of an NSF-funded project. The last observing run with the system prior to the upgrade was March 9-14. The upgraded system should see first light in approximately 18 months. Design and initial development has started on the new electronics for the deformable mirror (DM), the PCR reconstructor, the user software interface, the ARIES instrument upgrades (PIs D. McCarthy and C. Kulesa), and the refurbishment of the optical test bench for DM calibration.

Wed., Feb. 8 - Smithsonian Lectures on Astronomy

This series continues with the next lecture on Wed., February 8, at 9am. Dr. Karen Knierman of Arizona State University will give a talk entitled "Train Wrecks of Galactic Size: Galaxy Mergers and the Stars They Form." All lectures are free and open to the public. Click here for the remaining dates and the list of speakers and their topics. We hope you can attend!

Wed., January 25 - Smithsonian Lectures on Astronomy

The second lecture in this series is by Dr. Christian Drouet d'Aubigny of the University of Arizona. The title of his talk is "NASA's OSIRIS/REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission." Please join us at the Green Valley Recreation Center at 9:00am on Jan. 25! This series is free and open to the public.

Smithsonian Lecture Series on Astronomy - 2017

The 47th year of this series will begin on January 11 with the first of five lectures. This series is held on Wednesdays at the Green Valley Recreation Center at 9:00am. Each lecture is 45 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer period. All lectures are free and open to the public. Click here for the dates and the list of speakers and their topics. We hope to see you there!

Roadwork December 12-16

There will be equipment operating on Mt Hopkins Rd at km 12.6, just below the gate, starting on Monday, December 12. Operations will not close the road, but equipment will block the road at times. Please coordinate passage through this area with the construction crew via radio. This work will be ongoing for the entire week.