FBI, for unknown reasons, closed the Observatory in New Mexico. For a week the authorities remain silent, and conspiracy theorists are building theories


The life of a small town turned into a series of “X-Files”: helicopters in the sky, FBI agents, the local police do not understand anything.

Telescope of the Sunspot Observatory. Photo from the Observatory website

In the American small town of Sunspot (New Mexico), the National Solar Observatory has been closed for a week already. Evacuation of visitors and employees was conducted by the FBI, a helicopter is circling over the settlement, and local police and residents are told nothing. The lack of information about the mysterious closing of the observatory was filled by conspiracy experts–they are now wondering about the invasion of aliens and the capture of Chinese spies. And journalists joke that “this is how it starts.”

Closure of the observatory was called a precautionary measure

Observatory Sunspot observes the sun on the mountain peak of Sacramento since 1947. The main feature of the complex is a vertical telescope built by the US Air Force in 1969. Almost 50 years the device helped scientists discover, and in 2016 in New Mexico began to discuss its modernization.

For the first time, the local publication Alamogordo Daily News reported about the closure of the observatory. According to journalists, since September 6, both the visitors and employees have ceased to enter the building of the complex. Representatives of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)–an organization that owns an observatory–called the measures “temporary evacuation”.

“We have decided to vacate the facility at this time as precautionary measure. It was our decision to evacuate the facility.”
press secretary of AURA

Soon there was an announcement from the Sunspot team: employees also told about the closure of the observatory because of “unforeseen circumstances”. They did not specify when the object will be opened again. After that, both organizations stopped commenting on what had happened in New Mexico.

FBI agents work on the spot, and the police do not tell anything

Representatives of AURA did not say whether they were involved in the closure of the FBI facility, but added that they are “working on the problem with the authorities.” But the presence of agents in the town was revealed in the police department of Otero County. “The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on,” House said. “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.”–said the sheriff Benny House.

“There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.”
Benny House
Otero County sheriff

The mysterious closing of the Sunspot Observatory interested Gizmodo. A week after the evacuation, they sent a request to the FBI office in Albuquerque, but they were asked to ask everything from AURA. And the AURA declined to comment. On September 12, journalists called the police of Otero County and found out that the officers had not yet been disclosed any information. “There’s not much we can do about it. We’ve decided to respect their [FBI] wishes. We’re not going to make any inquiries and they’re not telling us.” the sheriff said.

Closed entrance to the observatory. Photos Alamogordo Daily News

Reporters of Sky News found that together with the observatory in SansPot, the office of the US Postal Service was closed. Representatives of the service confirmed this: “On September 6, we were evacuated. They did not say why, they just asked to leave the territory.”

In social networks there were conspiracy theories about aliens and spies

The staff of the observatory, in a conversation with the Albuquerque Journal, stressed that there was no information to worry about. But the lack of information led to rumors in Sunspot and social networks.

On September 11, a popular YouTube blogger, secureteam10, released a video with a review of the situation with the closure of the observatory. In the video, he advanced the theory that scientists either discovered a solar flare that would kill all life, or noticed an alien ship. For two days, the video received more than 350,000 views, and the commentators agreed that the staff of the observatory saw what they were not supposed to.

In the subreddit about conspiracy theories on Reddit also wondered what could have happened in Sunspot. One version: the FBI agents learned that telescopes and antennas are used by China to track down objects in the US. In another thread, the commentator called local journalists and stated that they were supposedly forbidden to disclose information, and the FBI would hold a press conference in the next few days.

American publications are in no hurry to build theories, but jokingly also hint at the invasion of aliens.

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