- Associated Press - Friday, September 23, 2016

SUNSPOT, N.M. (AP) - More than $1 million from the National Science Foundation will help support efforts to transition the operation of New Mexico’s solar telescope to a consortium led by New Mexico State University.

Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation announced the funding Thursday.

The Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope specializes in high resolution imaging and spectroscopy used by astronomers for a better understanding of the sun and how space weather affects the planet.

The National Solar Observatory currently operates the telescope. It expects to open a new telescope by 2018 in Hawaii. This opened the door for the consortium to take over and keep the New Mexico scope open.

Officials say the funding will bridge the gap by supporting science and operations for a two-year period starting at the end of 2017.

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