Archive for September, 2009

Gearing up to LCROSS …

The LCROSS experiment is now into its last two weeks before the impact happening in the early morning of Oct 9th (MST). We will be posting more specific information about the observing happening at the MMT in the coming days but for general information NASA’s LCROSS website is a great place to start.

The media is also ramping up their coverage with many articles including our local The Arizona Republic with quotes from Faith Vilas (MMT Director).

Launch of Atlas AV-020 LRO-LCROSS, June 18, 2009

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Proposal Deadlines for 2010A

Applying for Observing Time at the MMTO:

  • Proposal Deadlines for Trimester 2010A (1st January 2010 – 30th April 2010)

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Instrument Status

A short summary of the status of each MMT instrument and any work that has been completed over the summer period is given below. If you would like any further information regarding any of the instrumentation please contact Morag Hastie (mhastie@mmto).

  • RED CHANNEL: Unavailable. Awaiting a new detector which should be completed in late Oct.
  • BLUE CHANNEL: Available.
  • MMIRS: Unavailable. Further commissioning work undertaken. Shipped to Magellan 09/09.
  • Hectos: Available. Annual maintenance of fibre positioner & fibre chain maintenance completed.
  • Megacam: Unavailable. Shipped to Magellan 08/09.
  • SWIRC: Available.
  • ARIES: Available.
  • CLIO: Available. Recently added ice band (3.1 um) filter and R = 100 prism mode.
  • PISCES: Available.
  • MIRAC-BLINC: Available. R = 100 grism mode recently commissioned.
  • MAESTRO: Available.
  • SPOL: Available.

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MMTO All Sky Camera Used to Identify Ice Crystal Halos

According to a recent blog entry, the MMTO all sky camera data has been mined to identify ice crystal halos. For more details see the blog entry by following the link below:

MMTO Ice Crystal Halos

MMTO All Sky Camera Halos

MMTO All Sky Camera Halos

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New Astronomers Cheat Sheets

To help our visiting astronomers perform tasks either specific to the MMT or for any of our instrumentation we have pulled together a number of “cheat sheets”. You can find these “how to” helpers on the web site or there are hardcopies in a binder located in the control room (top shelf in the bookshelf in the middle of the room).

We have started with a small handful of cheat sheets and will continue to build this resource until we cover all the tasks needed. If you encounter something you feel needs a cheat sheet during your time at the observatory please request it in the Astronomer’s Log.

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New “Astronomer’s Log” Launched

The MMTO has launched a new “Astronomer’s Log”.  The purpose of the log is to allow the users to provide realtime feedback to the staff.  The log is web based and the format is such that users can enter text and “Submit entries” throughout a night of observing.  Entries can include any problems encountered during observing, comments, and/or suggestions.  Each entry is timestamped so that the staff can link entries to system and weather status.  The users can “Edit header information” to provide their name and program.   The log (which requires the generic mmt observer “mmtobs” login, ask the telescope operator if you don’t know the password) allows multiple users (i.e. if observing with colleagues) to add entries at the same time from different computers.  Although the interface is intuitive, there’s a link to instructions for use. At the end of the night the log can be “Finished and closed” at which time the user will have the option of sending a confidential report to the Director only.  PLEASE USE THE NEW ASTRONOMER’S LOG!  The URL for the log is (PLEASE ONLY USE WHEN YOU ARE OBSERVING):

http://hacksaw.mmto.arizona.edu/astlog

Screen capture of the Astronomer's Log

Screen capture of the Astronomer's Log

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