Sunspot, New Mexico
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Sunspot, New Mexico
Sunspot Visitor's Center and Museum
|Elevation||9,186 ft (2,800 m)|
|Time zone||UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-6 (MDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||936625|
Sunspot is an unincorporated community, located 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 Sunspot Solar Observatory is located in Sunspot in the Sacramento Mountains. On Oct 31 2018, Sunspot Solar Observatory took over the operations of the science from Dunn Solar Telescope and Visitors Center, although AURA maintained operations of the Sunspot site. The telescope and site 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
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. 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.
Temporary closure and conspiracies
On September 6, 2018, AURA voluntarily evacuated the site of Sunspot for security reasons. This prompted the formation of multiple conspiracies ranging from Aliens to military intelligence operations to impending solar storms to FBI raids. These all originated from false information provided by the local sheriff . A local TV station provided a call-in from a supposed employee with a disguised voice,  although this was later found to be faked by the reporter. On September 17 AURA re-opened Sunspot, following an investigation into criminal activity involving Apache Point Observatory personnel  Later, court documents reported that the closure was due to threats from the Apache Point Observatory janitor who was subsequently the center of a Federal investigation. During the course of the investigation, AURA had decided to evacuate the site and terminated the contract that had been held by the janitor. Apache Point Observatory had not been closed despite the ongoing presence of the suspect at that location during the investigation. The suspect was part of a larger community who had been previously removed from Sunspot, or fired  Once the threat was no longer present, Sunspot was reopened by AURA.
- "Sunspot, New Mexico". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- Otero County, New Mexico map
- "The National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak". New Mexico Tourism Department. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017.
- 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.
- "Closure of National Solar Observatory remains shrouded in secrecy". KVIA 7, ABC television affiliate.
- ""Dramatic raid" and other false statement". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- "Call-in from fake sunspot employee". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- New Mexico Solar Observatory Re-Opening Monday
- "Federal search warrant debunks theories behind Sunspot Observatory closure". KRQE. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "New Mexico solar observatory:". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2018.,
- "Sunspot ex-residents discuss old community problems:". Wired. Retrieved November 20, 2018.,
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