Archive for January, 2009

MMTAO In the News

Listen to Michael Lloyd-Hart discuss MMT adaptive optics and the multiple laser guide star system for large telescopes on Arizona PodCats at:


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Elevation Tracking Report

The MMT elevation tracking has been evaluated for the 3rd trimester of 2008 and was found to be at a median of 0.065″ +/- 0.04″. There is a lower limit to the tracking smoothness at about 0.02″, or +/- 2 encoder counts, with a non-linear dependence on the tracking rate. Wind rejection remains an issue, with tracking degradation a (nearly linear) function of the wind speed, regardless of the telescope position. However, positions at high elevation angles away from the prevailing wind are more favourable, as the following 3D plot with RMS error population as a surface over elevation and relative wind angle shows.

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Applying for Observing Time – 2009B

2009B:  1st May  2009 – 31th July 2009


Apply through Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (here)

  • Deadline: NOON (EST) Tues 24th Feb, 2009


Apply through University of Arizona Observatories (here)

  • Deadline: NOON (MST) Weds 25th Feb, 2009


Apply through NOAO (Public Access) (here)

Public Access Time is divided into semesters. 2009A: 1st Feb 2009 – 31st July 2009.

  • Deadline Survey Proposals: 11.59pm (MST) Mon 15th Sept, 2008
  • Deadline Standard Proposals: 11.59pm (MST) Tues 30th Sept, 2008

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Mt. Hopkins Road Closures – Feb. 2

Another section of Mt. Hopkins Road will have guardrails installed beginning Monday, February 2 around kilometer 4. 

Although the installation will be around km 4, a section between km 2.2 (by the astronomy vista) and km 4.2 will be closed.   There is room to turn around at these locations.

Road closures:  Monday through Friday
7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
8:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Open times:
Before 7:00 a.m.
8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m.
After 4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday-all day & night

Flagmen will be stationed at each end of the section. Your cooperation will be appreciated and please drive slow through the work area.

We anticipate that installation will continue through March 30, but you will be given updates.

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MMT December Observing Statistics

Time Summary


Percentage of time scheduled for observing                          90.0

Percentage of time scheduled for engineering                       10.0

Percentage of time scheduled for sec/instr change                 0.0

Percentage of time lost to weather                                         41.7

Percentage of time lost to instrument                                       7.7

Percentage of time lost to telescope                                        0.3

Percentage of time lost to general facility                                 0.0

Percentage of time lost to environment (non-weather)             0.0

Percentage of time lost                                                           49.7
Breakdown of time lost to telescope: M1 panic, guider server crash, wfs failed attempts

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MMT Trimester Report

To read the MMT May – August ’08 Trimester Summary Report, click here.

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Megacam Manual Updated

The Megacam manual has been updated AND moved to a CfA wiki at:

Megacam Manual

Thanks to J. Bechtold, B. McLeod and D. Curley. We will continue to update the manual and always appreciate suggestions from Megacam observers.

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