After Mysterious Closure, Solar Observatory In New Mexico Reopens

After Mysterious Closure, Solar Observatory In New Mexico Reopens

The Dunn Solar Telescope in Sunspot, N.M. The site was closed for over a week after a security threat. A solar observatory in New Mexico reopened Monday after being closed by authorities for 10 days — which spawned national interest and speculation into the cause of its evacuation.

Let’s get this out of the way: Scientists say that aliens were not involved.

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."

From there, it was off to the races. Combine the FBI, a powerful telescope and a location in rural Sunspot, N.M., and you’ve got all the ingredients for some rampant speculation — government surveillance, aliens, etc."Why the FBI close the observatory?? People have the right to know!!" one person demanded on the observatory’s Google page.The observatory, in Lincoln National Forest, about 170 miles […]

About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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