Thursday, September 09, 2004

The MMT on Mount Hopkins

So I've been observing at the MMT (used to be short for "Multiple-Mirror Telescope," though now there is just one mirror), which is part of the Fred L. Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins south of Tucson. Here are some pictures (click on each image for a better view):

The boxy building here is the MMT "dome." Why is it square and not a true dome? Because it is cheaper, and the stereotypical white dome is not necessary to get great pictures. Too bad the box is ugly.

This is a view of the neighboring mountain, Mt. Wrightson. We're located up high, 8400 feet (and 6000 feet above the desert below), so it is cool and wet enough for trees to grow. Mt. Hopkins is part of the Coronado National Forest.

A sight that strikes fear into the heart of the astronomer -- rain and storms. Luckily this storm stayed to the south of us, over Mexico, and we finally got to observe!

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