Archive for December, 2009

MMTO is looking for an Adaptive Optics Scientist/Engineer

The MMT Observatory (MMTO), a joint venture of the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona, is seeking a Scientist or Engineer with working knowledge of astronomical adaptive optics to join the MMT team. The MMTO operates a 6.5-meter telescope at the summit of Mt. Hopkins (elevation 8550 feet), some 40 miles south of Tucson in southern Arizona. Additional details regarding the telescope and associated instrumentation may be found via the web site:

The position will be based at the MMTO offices in the Steward Observatory building on the campus of the University of Arizona. Significant work at the telescope site on Mt. Hopkins will be required. System integration, checkout, and performance analysis will require some nighttime work.

The selected candidate will support and/or coordinate the Operations team in the maintenance and troubleshooting of the adaptive optics hardware including the f/15 secondary and its associated electronics, the natural guide star top box, and the adaptive optics test stand. The candidate will work with the electrical, mechanical, and software groups at the MMT and the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics to further optimize the performance of the system to ensure smooth and robust operation. This optimization may require the design, fabrication, testing, and implementation of new equipment. The candidate should also have significant software development experience in the areas of hardware control and data analysis. The candidate will also need to interface with and coordinate observers, prospective observers, and instrument PI’s.

The Observatory uses state of the art computer control electronics in an industrial setting. We are seeking a motivated hands-on person with both practical skills and knowledge of cutting-edge technologies. A strong background in astronomical instrumentation is required and preference will be given to an applicant with experience in astronomical adaptive optics. Strong documentation and communication skills are a plus.

Further details can be found here.


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Research Using the MMT in the News

From observations made using the MMT, Dr. E. Mamajek of the University of Rochester has discovered that the first known binary star is actually a sextuplet system.   To read the article published by Science Daily, press here.

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MMT November Observing Statistics

Percentage of time scheduled for observing             93.4
Percentage of time scheduled for engineering            6.6
Percentage of time scheduled for sec/instr change    0.0
Percentage of time lost to weather                          22.3
Percentage of time lost to instrument                        0.4
Percentage of time lost to telescope                         2.8
Percentage of time lost to general facility                  0.0
Percentage of time lost to environment (non-weather) 0.0
Percentage of time lost                                          25.5

Breakdown of hours lost to telescope:
7.0 Hexapod
1.0 WFS
1.0 Guider issues
0.5 M1 panic
0.3 Unable to flatten f/15

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