New Mexico's Sunspot observatory closed for unspecified security reasons to reopen

X-Files DVD & empty houses VIDEOs from ‘Ghost town’ Solar Observatory in New Mexico

"The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) who manages the facility is addressing a security issue at this time", AURA spokesperson Shari Lifson said in an emailed statement last week.

"AURA is addressing a security issue at the National Solar Observatory facility at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico and has made a decision to temporarily vacate the facility as a precautionary measure until further notice", read the statement.

"Nobody would really elaborate on any of the circumstances as to why".

"But for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to get involved that quick and be so secretive about it, there was a lot of stuff going on up there", Otero County Sheriff Benny House said, as quoted by Alamogordo News.

Officials were concerned that a suspect in a criminal investigation nearby could pose a threat to employees and nearby residents.

The observatory is set to open up again on Monday. The facility focuses on solar research, and its telescope is one of the best ground-based solar observatories in the world.

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The association said in an update Friday that it has "decided that the observatory will remain closed until further notice due to an ongoing security concern". For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location.

Roswell, N.M. - where the 1947 crash of a flying object sparked so much interest that the city is now home to a UFO museum - is only about a 2½ -hour drive from the observatory. The association's statement said the closure was based in part on "logistical challenges associated with protecting personnel at such a remote location". AURA determined that moving the small number of on-site staff and residents off the mountain was the most prudent and effective action to ensure their safety.

Apparently, the organisation couldn't provide additional details at the time because they anxious the news spreading could interfere with the investigation. "Given the significant amount of publicity the temporary closure has generated, and the consequent expectation of an unusual number of visitors to the site, we are temporarily engaging a security service while the facility returns to a normal working environment".

"We discovered what appears to be, it's still under investigation, the theft of $15,000 of electronic test equipment", he said, adding most people wouldn't even know what the equipment comprises.

The site's remote wilderness location high up in the Lincoln National Forest and quotes from the locals telling the media they had no idea what's going on, added the flawless fuel to the conspiracy fire. Data from observations done at Sunspot are sent to New Mexico State University servers and can be used by researchers around the world. "That's all I can say at this time".

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