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Smithsonian Lecture Series on Astronomy - February 27, 2019

Dr. Burcin Mutlu Pakdil, from University of Arizona, will be giving the lecture titled “The Most Mysterious Objects in the Universe.” This lecture will be held Wednesday, February 27 at the Green Valley Recreation Center- West at 9:00 AM. 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 all speakers and their topics. We hope to see you there!

Smithsonian Lecture Series on Astronomy - February 13, 2019

Dr. Jackie Monkiewicz, from Arizona State University, will be giving the lecture titled "Modern Extreme Dwarf Galaxies as Laboratories of Protogalaxy Physics" This lecture will be held Wednesday, February 13 at the Green Valley Recreation Center- West 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 all speakers and their topics. We hope to see you there!

Smithsonian Lecture Series on Astronomy - January 30, 2019

Join us for the first Smithsonian lecture series of 2019. Dr. Kristopher Klein, of Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, will be giving his lecture titled "Visiting Our Sun: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Solar Atmosphere using Parker Solar Probe." This lecture will be held Wednesday, January 30 at the Green Valley Recreation Center-West 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 all speakers and their topics. We hope to see you there!

Aging a Flock of Stars in the Wild Duck Cluster

Do star clusters harbor many generations of stars or just one? Scientists have long searched for an answer and, thanks to the MMT and its Hectochelle instrument, found one in the Wild Duck Cluster, where stars spin at different speeds, disguising their common age. The UA news story can be read here.

Smithsonian Lecture Series on Astronomy - 2019

Join us for the 49th year of this lecture series held on Wednesday mornings at the Green Valley Recreation Center-West 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!

Update on Tours

Due to scheduled road construction leading to the MMTO, tours are not currently scheduled. Tours will resume Spring 2019. Please check back here for updates!

MMT Observing Schedule - August-December

The observing schedule for August-December can be found here.

Km 18.5 Road Stabilization Project

There is currently road work leading to the summit at Km 18.5. During Phase 1, the goal is to keep the road open with minor interruptions. There will be restricted access to cars. There are currently 2 windows per day that allow vehicles to pass through. The first is at 8:45-9:15AM with another at 3:50-4:20PM. Work begins at 6AM and continues to 6PM. Due to these closures, it is our preference that you plan for remote observing. Coming up to the mountain is still possible if you feel you must be there, but please expect the road to be closed at the time you might normally want to come down from the summit. Please also expect that it may not be an easy drive in the construction area. Phase II will begin in November and will have major interruptions.

Successful Summer Shutdown

On August 15th, the MMT returned to normal operations after a three-week summer shutdown. Some of the scheduled work completed during this period included: wet washing the primary mirror, removing the decommissioned laser guide star system from the telescope, and replacing the electrical connectors on the telescope encoder power supply. Since the tasks were successfully completed on time and the opportunity was available, the 40-lead DIP resolver-to-digital converters for the azimuth axis were replaced with specially packaged 44-terminal LCC units. This was completed to increase the inventory of potential spare for this critical telescope component.

Successful Shutter Seal Replacement

In preparation for the shutter seal replacement, the Blue Channel instrument and the f/9 secondary mirror were removed on June 18th and the telescope was parked horizon pointing and covered with a tarp. Kappcon, Inc. then began the process of replacing the EPDM material used to seal the two MMTO shutter halves when closed. The horizontal seal section was replaced using a custom access platform borrowed from the LBT Observatory (as seen in the image here). The vertical seal section was replaced using a rented boom lift. This work was completed on June 26th, and after completing other maintenance tasks, the telescope was returned to normal nighttime operation on June 30th.