The MMT before and after the conversion to the 6.5-m mirror

The 6.5-meter (21-foot) diameter MMT telescope is operated by the MMT Observatory (MMTO), a joint venture of The Smithsonian Institution and The University of Arizona. The MMT is located on the summit of Mt. Hopkins approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Tucson, Arizona on the grounds of the Smithsonian’s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory along with a number of Smithsonian operated telescopes.

At an elevation of 2616m (8585-ft), Mt. Hopkins is the second highest peak in the Santa Rita Range of the Coronado National Forest. At this elevation, the MMT is positioned above the Earth’s lower atmosphere which helps to reduce the impact of atmospheric effects (i.e. “seeing”) on the image quality at the telescope.

After nineteen years of productive operations, progress in the production of large mirrors (pioneered at the University of Arizona’s Mirror Lab), and new instrument technologies drove the desire to upgrade the telescope to utilize a single 6.5-m mirror in place of the smaller six-mirror array. The conversion would more than double the light-gathering power of the telescope and increase the area of sky the telescope could observe at one time (called the “field-of-view”) by a factor of more than 300. The original telescope was decommissioned in March of 1998. The telescope enclosure was modified, the optics support structure was replaced, and a single 6.5-m primary mirror was installed. The new telescope was simply renamed the “MMT,” which is no longer an acronym.

Image Credit: MMT Observatory


Posted 9 months ago with 93 notes
Tagged:MMT ObservatoryscienceObservatoryAstronomyoptical reflecting telescope

  1. levantineviper-archive reblogged this from spaceplasma
  2. topazwoods reblogged this from spacesightings
  3. spacesightings reblogged this from spaceplasma
  4. sabrinacharmcurseyobuns reblogged this from spaceplasma
  5. sijali reblogged this from megacosms
  6. trncs reblogged this from megacosms
  7. marijuanalogues reblogged this from megacosms
  8. gentleheartslikeshotbirdsfallen reblogged this from megacosms
  9. megacosms reblogged this from spaceplasma
  10. yqqdrasil reblogged this from spaceplasma
  11. modestmariner reblogged this from spaceplasma
  12. scarecrowbone reblogged this from oxygen8
  13. kihi reblogged this from oxygen8
  14. oxygen8 reblogged this from spaceplasma
  15. kljsdf890u90 reblogged this from spaceplasma
  16. starstuffblog reblogged this from spaceplasma
  17. deepspaceobjects reblogged this from spaceplasma
  18. gobias-ind reblogged this from spaceplasma
  19. longhornthunder reblogged this from spaceplasma
  20. theskittles reblogged this from spaceplasma
  21. weisshaar reblogged this from activator-inhibitor
  22. birdinsea reblogged this from spaceplasma
  23. naxoinchains reblogged this from spaceplasma
  24. puntotamblerpuntocom reblogged this from comrade-sagan
  25. lonelyopportunity reblogged this from spaceplasma