Archive for October, 2008

Creighton Chute’s last day

Today is Creighton’s last day with the MMT.  Wish him well as he moves to Boulder!


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Excellent results from recent LGS run …

The most recent run for the LGS team (10/13 – 10/17) proved incredibly successful, producing some very exciting results. Following is the key results and images supplied by Michael Lloyd-Hart and the LGS team.


The ground-layer AO compensation resulted in dramatic improvements in image quality over the full 2′ x 2′ field of view of the Pisces camera in the J, H and K NIR wavebands. Native seeing in K of 0.85″ was corrected to 0.25″ with the AO. The first image below shows a great example of the native seeing of 0.61″ being corrected to 0.22″ with closed loop for a 10″ FOV at the centre of M36. The second image demonstrates the quality of the correction over the entire 2′ FOV of the camera – for native seeing of 0.86″ corrected to 0.27″.  The table below quantitatively shows the uniformity of the correction over the FOV. The plot shows achieved FWHM (“) versus distance (“) from the tip/tilt natural guide star – again demonstrating how good the correction is regardless of object position in the field. 


The system is now very robust, staying closed unattended for tens of minutes at a time. The attained closed loop results are consistent with the open loop predictions for H & K and even better in J. It will be exciting to know what results are achieved in Z or I. Thanks again to Michael Lloyd-Hart for these wonderful images and congratulations to the whole team on the excellent results.

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Some excellent recent seeing

Fall and spring tend to have the best weather in southern Arizona.  They are the transitional periods between the summer monsoon season and winter rainy season and are usually dominated by strong high pressure systems.  In addition to clear, dry air these weather patterns also tend to produce the best seeing.  We have been in such a pattern for the past couple weeks or so and have had good to excellent seeing during this time.  The best was on the night of October 25-26.  Shown here is a histogram of the seeing as measured with our Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor.  The best seeing here is 0.29″ at an airmass of 1.22 which corresponds to a seeing at zenith of 0.26″!

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Dear MMTO staff and user communities …

Welcome to the new MMTO blog – an informal place the MMT staff will use to get information out to you, the astronomers, scientists and engineers who have a vested interest in the MMT. The blog will not be updated on a regular basis but posts will made when we have something new to convey. We hope to include exciting achievements, things that have gone wrong and that we have worked to fix or that we are working to fix, insight into the daily life of the observatory and many other things. There are comment spaces below each post – please use these to “talk back” to us with comments, questions, requests etc. We want this blog to be a place to open up dialogue between us so anything you would like to see a post on please let us know. We want to keep this an informal space so posts may be short, if you an interested in knowing more about a subject leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.

Happy Reading!

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