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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.

Road Work near Summit - Completed

The heavy equipment operations just below the summit has been completed. Some finishing work with rock and gravel will be done to the parking lot at the summit in the future. We will post that timeline here when we receive it.

Fun Video!

Check out a brief, captioned video of the actual aluminization of our primary mirror and hear comments by our staff during the process.

Aluminization Details

The MMT primary mirror was successfully recoated on September 2, with the coating being uniform across the entire mirror. The measured reflectivity in the blue (at 400nm) is 91.6%, the best achieved at the MMT to date. A minor imperfection is a thin coating along a small area of the south edge (around 6:30) where the glass was shadowed by aluminum foil used to protect the mylar vacuum barrier. Take a look at a photo (you can zoom in), the reflectance plot, and a video of the shot!

Smithsonian Institution Position

A Public Affairs Specialist position is open with our colleagues at the F.L. Whipple Observatory at Mt. Hopkins. It closes on Oct 31.