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2010 Aluminization Video

Here is the video from the camera mounted in the window of the vacuum bell jar during the ‘shoot’.


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The whereabouts of MMIRS & Megacam

It has been decided by the PIs of MMIRS and Megacam to leave both instruments at Magellan for the next several years as long as they are being scientifically productive there.  This will allow people to plan long term projects at Magellan.  The reasoning behind this is several-fold:

1) The overhead for moving the instruments in terms of both mechanical and software support is quite substantial, not to mention the risk involved in the move.

2) The better seeing and photometric conditions at Las Campanas make it a better place to do Megacam imaging projects.

3) Both UA and CfA have access to Magellan, so they will have access to the instruments.

This will be readdressed if they are not being productive in Chile.

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Official statement on the re-coating of the MMT primary mirror

The MMT was taken offline for an extended period during this year’s summer shutdown to re-coat the primary mirror. The previous coating was applied during 2005 and with careful use, frequent CO2 cleaning and contact washing we have been able to keep that coating in very good condition. Measured reflectivity of the primary indicated it was time to give the mirror a new coating.

Although the process appeared to have gone smoothly, a visual inspection following the removal of the bell jar revealed patches of the surface that are “discolored”. We are still investigating exactly what happened, and though we have a working theory we wish to verify exactly the issue with the process before we make an official statement to this end.

There is one main affected area, which we estimate, is ~15% of the mirror surface and two small discreet patches separate from the larger area that are effectively non-reflective. The combined effect of these “blemishes” is to give a reduced throughput (or effective collecting area) of the telescope as they have a greatly reduced reflectivity with respect to an ideal Aluminum coating. As a guide, the measured reflectivity is worse in the blue and increases red-wards, e.g. at 400nm the worst measured reflectivity is 18% and increases to 50% at 700nm (for reference ideal Al is ~91% reflectivity).

We estimate that the imperfection of the coating delivers an equivalent collecting area of a telescope approximately 6.2m in diameter. For numerous reasons including budgetary and staffing restrictions, at this time we intend to re-coat again during the summer shutdown, 2011.

For more information and images please see Grant’s presentation from the SO Observer’s Lunch on 10/5/10. If you have any further questions, or comments please direct them to Morag Hastie.

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Kodak interviews Margaret Geller

Catch an interview of Dr. Margaret Geller of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory posted on the Kodak website. You can also see an image taken at the MMT Observatory. Click on the link below to hear the interview.

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MMT telescope operator featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” 6/4/10

MMT operator Mike Alegria is featured in an “unusual job” segment on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” this afternoon.

Reporter Ted Robbins interviewed Mike at the telescope in late April during an adaptive optics engineering session with Michael Hart, et al.

The exact broadcast time is uncertain.  In Tucson, KUAZ runs “All Things Considered” from 3:30 to 6 pm.  It’s in the first 15-minutes of one of the show’s two hours.  Alternatively, go to , where the segment will be posted after it airs.

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Movies of the new building going up …

We are moving along quickly with construction of the building extension at the summit. Below are a couple of movies from the day the steel beams went up from different vantage points. Enjoy!

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*Update* – The Second MMT Science Symposium

**Participants in Tucson: Abstract submission and meeting registration will open on Monday, April 12**

Participants in Cambridge: TBD (opening soon)

 For those attending the meeting in Cambridge, meeting and/or dinner registration will be done through the Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory.  For those attending the meeting in Tucson, meeting and/or dinner registration will be done through the MMT Observatory office in Tucson.

All abstracts will be submitted through the MMTO website.  Final deadline for all abstract submissions is Monday, May 3 (300 words maximum).

Meeting and dinner registration details for Tucson participants are being finalized and will be posted on April 12.



The Second MMT Science Symposium – May 19-20, 2010

May 19 – Scientific Oral and Poster Presentations

May 20 – MMT Long-term Strategic Planning Meeting

 The MMT Observatory and MMTO Council are pleased to announce the Second MMT Science Symposium.  The occasion will also mark the tenth anniversary of the re-dedication of the MMT held May 20, 2000.  In addition to celebrating the anniversary, we would also like to showcase the important science accomplishments that have been achieved with the MMT 6.5m telescope. 

 The meeting will be held via videoconference between the parent institutions, The University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Institution.  For those attending in Tucson, the meeting will be held in Steward Observatory, Rooms 505 & 505A.   For those attending in Cambridge, the meeting location is Room M-340 at the Center for Astrophysics.  The meeting will also be streamed live on the internet. 

Oral and poster presentations will be on Wednesday, May 19.  Abstracts are due on Monday, May 3.

On Thursday, May 20, an MMT strategic planning discussion will be held with attendance limited to faculty and staff from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Arizona Universities (UA, NAU, ASU).   

We are planning a dinner and celebration on the evening of May 19.

More details will be coming soon!

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