National Solar Observatory
The mission of the National Solar Observatory is to advance knowledge of the Sun, both as an astronomical object and as the dominant external influence on Earth, by providing forefront observational opportunities to the research community. The mission includes the operation of cutting edge facilities, the continued development of advanced instrumentation both in-house and through partnerships, conducting solar research, and educational and public outreach.
Visiting the observatories
The National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak welcomes visitors during the daytime. There is a separate, nighttime observatory, Apache Point Observatory, located nearby. The observatory lies in New Mexico at the southern end of NM Scenic Byway 6563, about 18 miles (by car) south of Cloudcroft (on NM 82), and 40 miles southeast (by car) from Alamogordo (on NM 70 and 54), in the village of Sunspot inside of the Lincoln National Forest. Sunspot is an unincorporated community in the Sacramento Mountains in Otero County. For more info see: Sacramento Peak directions.
The National Solar Observatory in Arizona is located in Tucson and at Kitt Peak, which is 56 miles southwest of Tucson via State Route 86 on the Tohono O'Odham Reservation. Allow 90 minutes of drive time from Tucson. For more info see: Kitt Peak directions
The National Solar Observatory is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation, for the benefit of the astronomical community.
Telescopes operated by the observatory
- The Dunn Solar Telescope
- The Evans Solar Facility
- Hilltop Dome Facility
- See Apache Point Observatory for the telescopes located there
The Sacramento Peak facilities are located in Sunspot, New Mexico. The site's name was chosen by the late James C. Sadler, (1920–2005), an internationally noted meteorologist and professor at The University of Hawaii, formerly with the United States Air Force on assignment during the early inception of the observatory.
See: The Sacramento Peak Observatory, Solar Physics 182,1-19,1998, J.B.Zirker
- Media related to National Solar Observatory at Wikimedia Commons
- The Creation of the Sacramento Peak Observatory
- National Solar Observatory home page
- National Solar Observatory observes a 'solar tsunami' (Moreton wave)