On an easy driving day I had a opportunity to visit the National Solar
Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico. This is about a 30 minute
drive from the small mountain town of Cloudcroft, NM and that about 30
minutes from Alomogordo. There are 5 telescopes perched here atop
Sacramento Peak in the Sacramento Mountains. This spot was chosen
because it is away from pollution from the cities, the air is thinner,
and sometimes it is above the clouds. The first telescope is the
Evans Solar Facility built in 1952. It has 2
telescopes used mainly to look at the corona of the sun.
second picture is the Dunn Solar Telescope. It is actually 300
tall. That is the length of a football field stood on end.
the top third sticks above ground the rest is in a deep hole in the
They are studying the corona and with this instrument.
is the Grain Bin Dome. It was the first telescope install on the
in 1950. The building was made from a grain bin the team ordered
the Sears catalog. It was then adapted to rotate and open as
for the telescope. Now there is a night time telescope in there
look at the stars. When I was visiting today the clouds were very
and it even tried to rain while I was there. The view of the sun
not really good, maybe next time.