What Altitude are we at?
9,800 feet/2,800 meters above sea level! At this altitude, air pressure is only 72% of what it is at sea level, and the effective oxygen concentration (how much oxygen you can get in a breath) is also only about 70% of what it is at sea level! Water will boil at 195º F/ 90.6º C. It is most certainly a noticeable difference!
How much snow do you get in the winter?
On average, we can expect about 72 inches/1.8 meters of snow over the course of a full winter! However, the last two years have been uncharacteristically dry, with very little snowfall. This dearth of snow has affected much of the Western and Southwestern United States.
When was the site established?
1947! The site on Sacramento Peak began as a joint venture between Harvard University through the High Altitude Observatory in Climax, Colorado, and the United States Air Force. The Air Force was interested in having a station observing the Sun while they were launching rockets from White Sands Missile Proving Grounds, and monitoring the upper atmospheric conditions. The site was funded by the Air Force until 1976, when operations were turned over to the National Science Foundation. While the NSO is still in charge of site operations, as of October 2017, the Sunspot Solar Observatory Consortium has taken over running the Dunn Solar Telescope and Sunspot Astronomy & Visitors Center, including science data acquisition at the DST.
Is there a bathroom on Site?
Good Question! The only publicly-available bathrooms on site are located in the Visitors Center, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.
Can I take pictures?
You are free and encouraged to take pictures anywhere on site! We only ask that, when the Dunn Solar Telescope is operational, that you refrain from flash photography in the observing room.
wHY CAN'T A TAKE A FLASH PHOTOGRAPH IN THE OBSERVING ROOM?
The cameras we use to study the Sun operate on the same basic principles as the camera in your phone, but ours are far more sensitive. Camera flash has the potential to ruin the current set of observations - worse, it may not be obvious they're ruined until much later, when quite a lot of time has been wasted. Please be considerate!
Scenic Overlook? What's that?
Glad you asked! On our site, we have this view of the Tularosa Basin (click to enlarge):