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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:New Mexico State University
  • R. T. James McAteer
  • (575) 646-4087
  • Jason Jackiewicz
  • Valentin Martinez Pillet
Award Date:11/12/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 509,253
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 509,253
  • FY 2020=$509,253
Start Date:11/15/2019
End Date:10/31/2021
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Operation of the Sunspot Solar Observatory by the SSO Consortium
Federal Award ID Number:1945705
DUNS ID:173851965
Parent DUNS ID:861367373
Program Officer:
  • Luke Sollitt
  • (703) 292-8225

Awardee Location

Street:Corner of Espina St. & Stewart
City:Las Cruces
County:Las Cruces
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Sunspot Solar Observatory
Street:Coronal Loop
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

As our closest star, the Sun provides an important laboratory to study the processes that govern stars in our Galaxy. The Sun is also the primary driver for the space weather that impacts human life on Earth. The Sunspot Solar Observatory (SSO) in Sunspot, NM has been used to study the Sun since 1947. Originally a US Air Force facility, it was operated by the National Solar Observatory for the National Science Foundation from 1976 to 2016. In 2016, operation of the observatory passed to the SSO Consortium, a university-based collaboration led by New Mexico State University (NMSU). The Dunn Solar Telescope (DST), operational since 1969, is one of the best instruments in the world for synoptic, full-disk observations of the Sun. DST is equipped with a wide range of modern instrumentation for multi-conjugate adaptive optics, broad-band imaging, rapid-scan spectroscopy, and spectopolarimetry. This instrumentation, along with other recent upgrades, will enable cutting edge science by the solar astronomy community. SSO will provide a testbed for instruments being developed for the upcoming Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope and for observations in support of the Parker Solar Probe. SSO's location allows unique opportunities for concurrent observations with sounding rocket flights from the White Sands missile range. The five Consortium member institutions will provide training to graduate students, including underrepresented minorities. This award will allow the SSO Consortium will operate the Sunspot Solar Observatory for two additional years. NSF funding now represents a minority of the overall funding, with the rest being provided by the SSO Consortium, including member institutions and the State of New Mexico. During FY 2017 - 2019, the Consortium compiled a science plan, hired personnel and upgraded the DST. The next two years will be spent performing observations and providing data in support of four science goals: 1) synoptic mapping of solar filament magnetic fields in support of space weather studies; 2) monitoring for solar eruptive events; 3) coordinated targets of opportunity in support of sounding rockets from the White Sands missile range and the Parker Solar Probe; and 4) PI-led science investigations involving Consortium member institutions. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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