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National Optical Astronomy Observatory
MMT 6.5-m Telescope

Community Access to the 6.5-m Telescope of the MMT Observatory

A significant amount of observing time on the 6.5 m telescope of the MMT Observatory was made available to the astronomical community through the NOAO proposal process. Time was last offered in the NOAO 2013A observing semester.

Current Status

We anticipate that all available time will have been scheduled by the end of the NOAO 2013A observing semester. No new time for community-access proposals will be offered in 2013B. If community access should resume in the future under a new agreement, it will be announced in the NOAO Newsletter and on this web page.


The facility instruments available include a pair of low-to-moderate resolution spectrometers. In addition, several "PI instruments" will be provisionally available. These can only be used in collaboration with the instrument's principal investigator. Anyone who wishes to use a PI instrument must consult with the instrument PI, and the instrument PI must submit a letter of approval and consent to to be attached to the proposal.

Current information on MMT instruments available through the Public Access Program will be maintained by the MMT Observatory. A list of the instruments available for this next semester is also available from the NOAO Coordinated Facilities page.

Applying for Public Access Time on the MMT

Visiting observers may apply for time through the NOAO proposal process. Proposals will be reviewed by the NOAO TAC, and those approved will be forwarded to the MMT for scheduling.

Investigators may request telescope time on any or all nighttime facilities available through NOAO, including the MMT, in a single proposal.

Note that, while the NOAO TAC will meet on a semester basis, the 6.5-m telescope is scheduled trimesterly (Jan through April, May through August, and September through December). All proposals submitted for a given semester will be reviewed at the same time, but the scheduling of those projects approved for observing time will not all happen shortly thereafter. Note also that the month of August is traditionally reserved for major telescope maintenance projects.

Procedures and forms for applying for telescope time can be obtained at

Additional Information

Approximately 20% more proposals than can be scheduled will be forwarded to the MMT by the TAC. The Directors of NOAO and the MMTO (or their designees) will then determine which proposals will actually be scheduled taking into account such constraints as technical feasibility, overall suitability for the MMT, block scheduling, conflicts in requested dates, etc.

Please direct proposal questions specific to community access to the MMT telescope and its instruments directly to them at

In the case of approved proposals that are substantially similar in experimental design and scientific goals to projects that are already underway at SAO or UAO, priority will be given to the staffs of the host institutions.

Because of the limited support provided by the MMTO, access to the telescope will be restricted to those who have

All observing will be carried out in classical mode. Observers will normally be expected to arrive one night early to become familiar with the MMT environment by watching the previous observer.

Observers will be responsible for following the general policies for FLWO visitors, including covering charges for their stay in the dormitories, for bringing magnetic media for data storage, and for providing and cooking their own food.

All data obtained under this program may be placed in NOAO's data archives and made publicly available under the same ground rules as data obtained at NOAO telescopes.

Publications resulting from observations obtained through this Public Access program should include the following as a footnote on the title page: "The observations reported here were obtained [in part] at the MMT Observatory, a facility operated jointly by the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona. MMT telescope time was granted by NOAO, through the Telescope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP). TSIP is funded by NSF."

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NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Last updated February 26 2013

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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Proposals >   MMT Community Access

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