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Space and Physics

FBI Mysteriously Evacuates New Mexico's Solar Observatory, And The Internet Goes Wild

author

Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

clockSep 13 2018, 16:21 UTC

Hmm. Marija Stojkovic/Shutterstock

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Sunspot, New Mexico was suddenly shut down and, it appears, evacuated a few days back. Shortly afterwards, it was swooped on by members of the FBI. Naturally, this means only one thing: crazy headlines, ranging from “what the heck?” to the full-on, batshit, All Caps “IT’S ALIENS, PEOPLE! THE CONSPIRACY IS REAL!”

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As was reported by KRQE, AURA, the company that co-manages the observatory along with New Mexico State University, has not explained why this has happened. A resident of nearby Cloudcroft helpfully opined that “Nothing really happens up here much and so nobody knows. It could be almost anything.”

It isn’t, of course, aliens, because that isn’t how the government would respond should evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life be discovered. There’s actually a surprisingly specific chain of command-type deal that takes place, and the FBI swooping on the property and making a very public scene, which we’re now all trying our best to report on, is not it.

The Albuquerque Journal has already won, by the way. “The truth is out there – but no-one will go on the record about it,” their piece begins. It adds that, along with the NSO, a post office was also evacuated, both due to unforeseen circumstances. Workers for the US Postal service are also none the wiser.

“The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy is addressing a security issue… and has decided to temporarily vacate the facility as a precautionary measure,” Shari Lifson, an AURA spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We have no further comment at this time.”

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At present, there’s very little information available, so the responsible thing to do, clearly, is speculate wildly.

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It probably won’t be long before someone realizes that this is the same pocket of the US where a clinic was shut down for giving potentially dangerous “vampire facials” the other day. Are aliens getting their faces swapped out for human ones? Is the X-Files still on TV? Do they need monster-of-the-week episode ideas?

Others on social media have their own theories. Could they have found Mjolnir? Have they found the Upside Down? Is something weird happening with the Sun? Is something going on with Earth’s magnetic field? Is Nibiru coming to get us?

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No. All of these are nonsense. Well, apart from the Upside Down one, of course, because that could totally happen. Grab your baseball bats, kids: the Demogorgon is coming.

Update, 09/14: The NSO has issued a statement, and a slightly more specific one on social media channels, explaining that the Sunspot Observatory facility at Sacramento Peak has been shut down due to a "security issue," but their other facilities remain open and the NSO is "operating as normal."

[H/T: Gizmodo]


Space and Physics
  • solar,

  • FBI,

  • observatory,

  • New Mexico,

  • shut down,

  • evacuate,

  • here come the tin foil hats