The solar observatory that was dramatically closed down last week has reopened, but they still haven’t really explained what happened despite the release of a lengthy statement.
Who else has a ton of questions about the facility that was closed down abruptly last week by federal agents arriving in Blackhawk helicopters? The Sunspot Solar Observatory has been at the top of Sacramento Peak ever since 1947. It’s in Sunspot, New Mexico, in Otero County. And on Sept. 6 every person there was
evicted evacuated by the FBI.
No one knew why it was closed, nor did they know why nearby post offices were also suddenly shut down.
On Sept. 6, the Sunspot Solar Observatory was suddenly closed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, the consortium that operates it, without public explanation.
People who work at the observatory, and those who live on the site, were asked to evacuate. The site’s post office was also closed.
The Otero County sheriff told the local newspaper that his office was alerted but not given any information.
“The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on,” Sheriff Benny House told the Alamogordo Daily News shortly after the closure. “We’ve got people up there (at Sunspot) that requested us to standby while they evacuate it. Nobody would really elaborate on any of the circumstances as to why. The FBI were up there. What their purpose was nobody will say.”
“But for the FBI to get involved that quick and be so secretive about it, there was a lot of stuff going on up there,” he added. “There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.” (source)
Of course, the internet exploded with theories about aliens, solar events, the rogue planet Niribu, and all sorts of imminent doom. Paging Fox Mulder.
There was a YouTube video that said 6 other observatories were suddenly closed, but I was unable to confirm any of these except the one in New Mexico. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or that it did and was hidden from us. It just means that, as I said, I could not confirm this claim.
And now the Sunspot Observatory has reopened.
The site reopened 11 days after the mysterious closure.
The reasons that the facility closed are still vague, although they swear it wasn’t about aliens.
AURA officials had previously cited a “security issue” as the cause of the closure (which also affected a nearby post office) but did not elaborate. The FBI was apparently involved but kept pretty much everyone, including local law enforcement, in the dark about what was going on.
As often happens, rumors rushed in to fill the information-free void. Speculation ranged from the ridiculous (that the government wanted to squash news of an alien-life detection or civilization-destroying solar flare) to the plausible (that some bad actor had planted spy gear on the Sunspot grounds, which provide a good view of the White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base).
That latter explanation may still be in play; AURA has not disclosed the nature of the criminal activity being investigated. (source)
To quote Alice, “Mysteriouser and mysteriouser.”
Here’s the statement from AURA that doesn’t really tell us anything.
AURA, (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy) the agency that manages the observatory, finally released this less-than-satisfactory statement.
On September 6th, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) made the decision to temporarily vacate the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico as a precautionary measure while addressing a security issue. The facility closed down in an orderly fashion and is now re-opening. The residents that vacated their homes will be returning to the site, and all employees will return to work this week.
AURA has been cooperating with an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal activity that occurred at Sacramento Peak. During this time, we became concerned that a suspect in the investigation potentially posed a threat to the safety of local staff and residents. For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location.
The decision to vacate was based on the logistical challenges associated with protecting personnel at such a remote location, and the need for expeditious response to the potential threat. AURA determined that moving the small number of on-site staff and residents off the mountain was the most prudent and effective action to ensure their safety.
In light of recent developments in the investigation, we have determined there is no risk to staff, and Sunspot Solar Observatory is transitioning back to regular operations as of September 17th. Given the significant amount of publicity the temporary closure has generated, and the consequent expectation of an unusual number of visitors to the site, we are temporarily engaging a security service while the facility returns to a normal working environment.
We recognize that the lack of communications while the facility was vacated was concerning and frustrating for some. However, our desire to provide additional information had to be balanced against the risk that, if spread at the time, the news would alert the suspect and impede the law enforcement investigation. That was a risk we could not take. (source)
This probably falls into the category of things we’ll never know the truth about, like Area 51, the Kennedy assassination, the Vegas shooting, and 9/11.
What do you think?
Do you have a theory about why the observatory was suddenly and mysteriously closed? Are we getting the truth from AURA? Share your thoughts in the comments below.