Sunspot, New Mexico

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Sunspot Visitor's Center and Museum

Sunspot, home of the Sunspot Solar Observatory, is an unincorporated community in the Sacramento Mountains in Otero County, New Mexico, United States. It is located within the Lincoln National Forest, 18 miles south of Cloudcroft. Its elevation is 9200 feet. The nearest gas stations, grocery stores, or restaurants are in Cloudcroft.[1]


It was named after the presence of the National Solar Observatory on Sacramento Peak, in a vote that was allegedly rigged by the observatory's director John Evans.[2] The road leading to Sunspot from Cloudcroft is New Mexico State Road 6563, named for the brightest wavelength of hydrogen emission, H-alpha. This scenic byway features signposts marking the relative locations of the planets from the sun in proportion to their distance to Sunspot.

The telescope is open to the public, and the visitors center offers guided tours of the site on Saturdays and Sundays. On other days there is a self guided 1/2 mile trail around the telescope and White Sands overlook


  1. ^ "The National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak". New Mexico Tourism Department. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. 
  2. ^ Honan, William H. (November 6, 1999). "John Evans, 90, Ex-Director Of National Solar Observatory". The New York Times. New York: NYTC. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 32°47′28″N 105°49′05″W / 32.791°N 105.818°W / 32.791; -105.818