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Sunspot, New Mexico: National Solar Observatory

Take a self-guided tour around three large solar telescopes, or a guided tour, or just hang out in the Visitor Center. It's a mountaintop observatory, so bring a jacket, sunscreen, and be prepared to be out of breath. And don't look directly at the sun.

Visitor Center Rd, Sunspot, NM
From US Hwy 82 in Cloudcroft, on the west edge of town, turn southeast onto Hwy 130 (No gas or food outside of Cloudcroft, so fill up your tank and yourself). Drive two miles on Hwy 130. Turn right onto NM 6563. Drive south 14 miles. Once inside the stone gate, take the first turnoff to the left and park in front of the Visitor Center.
Dawn-dusk. Visitor Center 9-5. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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National Solar Observatory

Traveling the 17 miles from Cloudcroft to Sunspot is a beautiful drive, and the scientists there have helped to put the distances of our solar system in perspective with signs posted along the way indicating, to scale, the position of the planets relative to each other. There is a visitor center and a walking tour. The telescope has been open when I have been there before, and there are monitors that allow you to see the current images. The view of the Tularosa Basin (where White Sands is located) is breathtaking.

[drkilware, 02/14/2017]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Apple BoyApple Boy, High Rolls, NM - 11 mi.
Grave of Ham the AstrochimpGrave of Ham the Astrochimp, Alamogordo, NM - 11 mi.
New Mexico Museum of Space HistoryNew Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo, NM - 11 mi.
In the region:
White Sands Rocket Garden and Museum, White Sands, NM - 47 mi.

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