*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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New Red Channel Fully Depeleted Detector

A new fully depleted detector for the Red Channel Spectrograph was commissioned in November 2009.  The plot below shows a comparison of the detector quantum efficiencies of the Blue Channel CCD and the current and previous (deep depletion) generation Red Channel CCDs.

Blue and Red Channel detector QE comparison.

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Instrument Status 2010B

A short summary of the status of each MMT instrument is given below. If you would like any further information regarding any of the instrumentation please contact Morag Hastie (mhastie@mmto).

  • RED CHANNEL: Available. New detector. Contact Grant Williams @MMTO for support.
  • BLUE CHANNEL: Available. Contact Grant Williams @MMTO for support.
  • MMIRS: Unavailable. At Magellan
  • Hectos: Available. Contact Dan Fabricant @CfA for Hectospec and Andy Szentgyorgyi @CfA for Hectochelle.
  • Megacam: Unavailable. At Magellan
  • SWIRC: Available. Contact Warren Brown @CfA
  • ARIES: Available. Contact Don McCarthy @SO
  • CLIO: Available. Recently added ice band (3.1 um) filter and R = 100 prism mode. Contact Phil Hinz @SO
  • PISCES: Available. Contact Don McCarthy @SO
  • MIRAC-BLINC: Available. R = 100 grism mode recently commissioned. Contact Phil Hinz @SO
  • MAESTRO: Available. Shared Risk – contact J. Bechtold @SO
  • SPOL: Available. Please contact Paul Smith @SO

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Applying for Observing 2010B

Applying for Observing Time at the MMTO:

  • Proposal Deadlines for Trimester 2010B (1st May 2010 – 19th July 2010)
  • Note the shortened trimester due to Primary aluminising to take place this summer.

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Construction at the MMT

Construction began on January 11, 2010 on an Instrument Repair Facility at the MMT summit.  It is scheduled to be completed by summer.  Construction is taking place during the weekdays between 8:00am – 5:00pm.  There are no plans for work to be done on weekends.  The construction site is cordoned off with cones or is within a chained-off area. 

Please be aware that construction trucks will be on the Mt. Hopkins road and there could be short delays.  The contractors are using Whipple radios when driving up and down.  Whenever possible, please carpool to minimize traffic and also parking at the summit.  Currently, there is plenty of parking and the goal is to keep parking available for astronomers throughout the construction.  However, please leave keys in vehicles in case they need to be moved.

A webcam showing the construction appears on the MMT homepage in the bottom right-hand corner.  We will continue to post information and progress on the construction on this Blog.

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MMT December Observing Statistics

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                            37.8
Percentage of time lost to instrument                          2.6
Percentage of time lost to telescope                           7.1
Percentage of time lost to general facility                    0.1
Percentage of time lost to environment (non-weather)   0.0
Percentage of time lost                                            47.6

Breakdown of hours lost to telescope:
10.25  Hexapod failure
  7.30  M2 (f/15) problems
  7.00  AO software
  0.50  Gap contamination
  0.50  Thin Shell Safety (TSS) issues

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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: http://www.mmto.org.

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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