Something Strange Happening at Sunspot Solar Observatory

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by heirophant, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    It's a solar observatory run by New Mexico State University for AURA (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, a very big deal in astronomy) as part of the National Solar Observatory, which has several sites. Well, a few days ago hordes of FBI agents swarmed the place. No word whether Mulder and Scully were among them.

    Otero county Sheriff Benny House said "The FBI is refusing to tell us what's going on," he told the Alamogordo Daily News. "There was a black hawk helicopter, a bunch of people running around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything."

    He speculated that maybe somebody had attacked a member of the staff, but asked why if that was so, his department hadn't been called and why the FBI got involved so quickly. Everyone is wondering why they are being so secretive.

    Maybe somebody was 'colluding' with Russians. Nosborne lives in the vicinity. Maybe that's it.

    The local post office was evacuated too. The post office people say they weren't told why, just that they would be told when they could return.

    The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy said in a statement that it is "addressing a security issue". AURA decided to "temporarily vacate the facility as a precautionary measure, " spokeswoman Shari Lifson said, adding AURA is "working with the proper authorities on this issue".

    The internet consensus is... "We're not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens".
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  3. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    I won't say it's Raelians but it's Raelians.
  4. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Another internet theory:

    The Parker Solar Probe was just launched by NASA a short time ago, intended to travel closer to the Sun than ever before.

    Now feds and helicopters are swarming over an observatory dedicated to observing the Sun.

    So people on the internet are wondering if there's something wrong with the Sun.

    (And the internet is never wrong, we already know that.)

    Another much more likely theory that I also heard on the internet:

    Given that the post office was evacuated, and given that an adjoining astronomical installation only a mile away hasn't been evacuated, people are wondering whether something was mailed to or from this particular observatory that was judged a security threat for some reason. (A bomb, something biological, something radiological, or just a mailed threat of some sort.) The fact that they didn't just send one or two agents but instead swarmed the place, suggests that whatever it was, it alarmed them.

    I think that one is much more likely.

    But it still might be aliens...

    The blackhawk helicopter is interesting. While the FBI has a fleet of helicopters, it isn't clear that any of them are blackhawks. (That aircraft type is kind of ubiquitous in the government, though.) Even if they use some, they probably wouldn't be pre-positioned out there in New Mexico. So the military is probably involved in this as well, whatever "this" is, if only to provide a ride. (Holloman AFB is in Alamogordo, close by at the base of the mountains.) I'd like to ask the Sheriff what color the helicopter was painted and what kind of markings it had.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  5. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Somebody went up there on Wednesday Sept 12 (six days after it was evacuated Thursday 9-6) and flew a camera drone over the site and it appears completely deserted. No people visible, no vehicles, nothing. (An attractive mountaintop location though.)

    The National Solar Observatory says:

    "AURA - our management organization - is addressing a security issue at Sunspot Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico and has decided to temporarily vacate the facility as a precautionary measure."

    "Precautionary measure?" That suggests that remaining there is dangerous somehow. Has somebody threatened to attack it? Has it been contaminated somehow, chemically or radiologically? If it was under physical threat, one would expect to see law enforcement there. If it was contaminated, one would expect to see hazmat teams. If the FBI wanted everyone out so that they could look for evidence, we would expect to see them looking for evidence.

    They don't seem to be very determined to keep people out if there's just one strand of yellow police tape across the access road.
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  7. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    I can see Sunspot from my house. It is a gorgeous location and the visitor center and tours are pretty good. I love cycling on the highway between it and Cloudcroft and hope it opens back before the weather gets too cold to be on the road bikes up there.

    There definitely isn't much info on why it suddenly closed but the internet conspiracy theorists are comical.
  8. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    AURA has issued a statement that (kinda) explains what was happening.

    They say:

    "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...

    In light of recent developments in the investigation, we have determined that there is no risk to staff, and Sunspot Solar Observatory is transitioning back to regular operations as of September 17th... "
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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