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Week of Dec. 8 - Work on Mt. Hopkins Rd. - Revised

Due to continued roadwork, restrictions will be in place on Dec. 8-9 with road openings at 8:00-8:30am, noon-12:30, and after 4:00pm. On Dec. 10 & 11, the road will close at 8:30am and reopen at 4:00pm each day while work is done around km 9. A walk-through will be in place with vehicles available on either side. On Dec. 12, there will again be restrictions with the road open at 8:00-8:30am, noon-12:30, and after 4:00pm. Call 520-879-4422 for recorded updates.

Dec. 3-4: Roadwork on Mt. Hopkins

Culvert replacement will be conducted around km 7 on December 3 & 4, resulting in an overnight closure of the road at that area. The road will close at 8:30am on Dec. 3 and reopen after 4:00pm on Dec. 4. A walk-through will be in place with vehicles available on either side for use by observers and staff.  Current plans are for restrictions to be in place on Dec. 5, with road openings at 8-8:30am, noon-12:30, and after 4:00pm. Check back here for updates.

Local County is Proactive about Lighting

Cochise County, Arizona, has recently updated its lighting codes with the latest lighting technology in mind. The result is more protection for observatories and astronomy, while allowing enough light for the needs of businesses. Read about the county leading the way in the state!

New Discovery

Researchers at ASU recently announced the discovery of a wide brown dwarf companion to the nearby star zeta Delphini using data taken at the MMT with the ARIES instrument. The star and its brown dwarf, which are about 67 parsecs away, were observed as part of a larger survey of nearby stars called VAST (Volume-limited A-Star survey). The brown dwarf is located quite far away from its host star - about 900 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun - and is among the most widely separated companions known to date. Read the full article here.

Light Pollution: A Continuing Problem

Implementation of well-planned lighting codes can help Arizona's astronomy industry, as well as keep residents safe. Read more about the effects of light pollution.

Historical Photo of the MMTO

In 1981, a photograph was taken of the sun rising behind the original MMTO from a small telescope located on Kitt Peak, nearly 47 miles away. Read the interesting background regarding the photo, which now hangs in the newly furnished and upgraded MMTO control room.

Margaret J. Geller Receives Award

Dr. Margaret J. Geller, Harvard/CfA astrophysicist, was recently awarded this year's Karl Schwarzschild Medal of the German Astronomical Society. This prestigious award honors outstanding achievements of fundamental importance in astronomical research. Dr. Geller has been a frequent user of the MMTO. Read more.

Art Piece Inspired by the MMTO

For a very interesting and intriguing perspective, take a look at some large scale assemblages by artist John Zaklikowski.  He uses computer and electronic parts, as well as more common objects to produce his artwork, described by him as a "testament to and commentary on the intersection of art, science, and technology." Look closely at "Ghent" and you might recognize the 6 mirrors of the original MMTO.

HSRED Version 2.0 Released

We are pleased to release version 2.0 of HSRED, a reduction package for Hectospec data. This update incorporates a number of significant improvements provided by the Telescope Data Center at SAO.  Key changes include new support for the 600-line grating, fine-tuning the wavelength calibration, improved cosmic ray rejection and sky subtraction, support for offset sky observations, a model correction for the red light leak present in Hectospec data, and automatic correction for the A- and B-band telluric lines.

Variability Discovered in Star System

Arizona astronomers have used the MMT's adaptive optics system and the ARIES instrument to discover significant changes in the appearance of the variable binary star system UY Aurigae since 1994. The new spectrum is only the second ever published for one of the stars. The changes in brightness indicate increased interaction between the stars and their circumstellar disks. More information can be found here.