In what may be one of the more bizarre stories of 2018 so far, an undisclosed security threat has shut down a solar observatory in New Mexico, and angered local authorities in the process.
The remote town of Sunspot, New Mexico is the scene of this strange tale where, late last week, the FBI swooped in to shut down the solar observatory and post office for “security reasons”, forcefully evacuating employees and residents of the town with the help of the local sheriff… and no one knows why. Still.
The Sunspot Observatory is temporarily closed due to a security issue at the facility that’s located 17 miles south of Cloudcroft in the Sacramento Mountains Friday, an Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) spokeswoman Shari Lifson said.
“The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy who manages the facility is addressing a security issue at this time,” Lifson said. “We have decided to vacate the facility at this time as precautionary measure. It was our decision to evacuate the facility.”
She said she cannot comment on the specifics of the security issue.
Theories are abound in the odd case, and the radio silence from federal authorities has done little to quell concerns from the locals.
Even the local sheriff seems perturbed over the stonewalling that he is receiving.
Otero County Sheriff Benny House said the Otero County Sheriff’s Office was asked to standby.
“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.”
“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,” House said. “There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.”
“They wanted us up there to help evacuate but nobody would tell us anything,” he said. “We went up there and everything was good. There was no threat. Nobody would identify any specific threat. We hung out for a little while then we left. No reason for us to be there. Nobody would tell us what we’re supposed to be watching out for.”
Now going on 4 days from the time of the FBI takeover of the facility, there has yet to be any explanation proffered by authorities whatsoever, leading many around the nation to grow concerned.
via The Constitution