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Exposure Time Calculator for Hectospec and Binospec

The Telescope Data Center announces the availability of a web based Exposure Time Calculator for Hectospec and the upcoming Binospec. It can be found here. New features include an option for the 1000 line grating on Binospec, as well as a better moonlight model. Questions or suggestions regarding the calculator can be sent to Michael Kurtz.

Re-aluminization Testing and Preparations

Now that summer shutdown tasks have been completed and the MMTO has reopened, staff have resumed working at the UA Steward Observatory Sunnyside Coating Facility in preparation for the realuminization of the primary mirror scheduled for summer 2016. Currently, the work includes evaluating new aluminization hardware and software, including redesigned welder control boxes and automated process control software. Small Chamber (0.4m) experiments have recently been completed; three Large Chamber (2m) tests are planned for September. The results of this work will be used in a full-scale aluminization test at the F.L. Whipple Observatory Base Camp prior to the actual re-aluminization.

'New Horizons' Flyby of Pluto

Read commentary by Dr. Scott Kenyon, Senior Astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, regarding the exciting mission to Pluto!  The Smithsonian Institution and the UA jointly operate the MMTO.

Final August - December Observing Schedule and Program Titles

The final observing schedule for August 25-December 31 has been posted, along with Program Titles.

MMIRS returns to the MMTO!

The MMT and Magellan Infrared Spectrograph (MMIRS), commissioned at the MMTO in 2009, has returned from the Magellan-Clay telescope in Chile. It will be available as part of our suite of instruments later this year. More information can be found here.

Milky Way Inner Halo

Researchers at the CfA have released a new paper studying the halo of our Milky Way, using data from the MMT's Hectospec of more than five thousand stars. The global motions of the stars help decode information about the mass, structure and formation of the Milky Way. They find a strange "discontinuity" region about 30,000 light years away, which may be attributable to a star stream, an association of orbiting stars that may once have been a globular cluster or dwarf galaxy that has been torn apart by tidal forces. Read more here.

Scientists Uncover Clues on Star Nicknamed "Nasty 1"

Astronomers have recently learned more about an unusual old star, using data from the MMT, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Magellan Observatory. The new observations show a disk of material around the star - something that has not been found around any stars of the same type. Read more.

Mt. Hopkins Rd

The road is open with no restrictions until further notice. Call 520-879-4422 for daily recorded updates.

Realuminization - Summer 2016

Realuminization of the MMT's primary mirror has been deferred until summer 2016. Two factors guiding this decision were the state of the current coating and the status of a full-scale aluminizing test chamber being assembled at FLWO basecamp. Read more.

MMIRS Data Reduction Pipeline

The MMT and Magellan Infrared Spectrograph (MMIRS) will be returning to the MMTO from Magellan this June. Observers interested in proposing for its spectroscopic capabilities may find this new paper of interest, which lists suggested observing guidelines and describes the publicly available data reduction pipeline.