Reading like something straight out of the newest season of Stranger Things, the Sunspot Solar observatory in the state of New Mexico has been mysteriously shut down and evacuated. The observatory is home to one of the largest active solar telescopes in the world, but was quietly evacuated Thursday the 7th, as FBI agents immediately arrived at the scene.
Public visitors and employees have been banned from the building indefinitely. As if there wasn’t enough mystery around the whole affair, the observatory’s website simply reads “TEMPORARILY CLOSED”.
Even local authorities are baffled. Local law enforcement agents were sent to investigate the scene by Sheriff Benny House, only to find “no specific threat”.
Speaking to Alamogordo City News, Sheriff House was as curious as anyone else.
“The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on… We’ve got people up there (at the observatory) that requested us to standby while they evacuated 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.”
One week on from the evacuation, and there is still no information about what has happened, which has left the most imaginative of minds going wild with theories. AURA (The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy) is the company that runs the observatory, but they have done little to clear up the wild rumours that are now surrounding the event.
A spokesperson from AURA, Shari Lifson, simply attributed the event to a “security issue”, but did not elaborate any further, which is interesting considering that the FBI is directing all inquiries to AURA. On speaking with Alamogordo Lifson said “I am actually not sure (why the facility was evacuated), but it will stay vacated until further notice.”
As if this event in itself was not mysterious enough, the local post office has also been shut down, with no information as to why reaching the ears of employees.
“Right now, what we’re told is that they’ve evacuated the area. We haven’t been told why or when that expires,” spokesman with USPS Rod Spurgeon told ABC 7.
Right now, the observatory and its goings-on are shrouded in mystery. The only hint that we might one day get some answers can be found on Sunspot Observatory’s website:
“With the excitement this closure has generated, we hope you will come and visit us when we do reopen, and see for yourself the services we provide for science and public outreach in heliophysics.”
Watch this space……