On September 6 in the US State of New Mexico, the FBI shut down the South Cloudcroft Sunspot Observatory over “security reasons” and they aren’t telling anybody anything about the cause of the issue. In what sounds like an intro to a bad alien invasion movie, local residents have reported that the FBI swooped in and evacuated the observatory staff and closed the attached post office.
A Blackhawk helicopter, generally used only by the US military, was also seen circling the area.
The Western Internet is freaking out about it, throwing around multiple conspiracy theories explaining the source behind the mysterious closure of the observatory. Here are a few posts about it on Twitter.
Look things like this happen near Roswell all the time, this is a totally normal top-secret FBI lockdown of an otherwise very normal observatory. https://t.co/3MWp0KieBq
— Robert McNees (@mcnees) September 12, 2018
What is interesting is that the local post office has also been shut down by the FBI https://t.co/7ecdYHgKi4
— Julia Blackwater (@JuliaBlackwater) September 13, 2018
Over on Reddit, theories range from foreign state espionage of the US military White Sands testing grounds (which the Observa tory has a view of), to a coverup of an incoming catastrophic solar flare
Whatever is going on over there, the FBI is refusing to comment on the situation to both local authorities and media organizations.
“The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on,” Otero County Sheriff Benny House said. “We’ve got people up there that requested us to stand by 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.”
“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.”
The FBI is directing all inquiries about Sunspot to the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), which manages the observatory.
“The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is addressing a security issue at the National Solar Observatory facility at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico and has decided to temporarily vacate the facility as a precautionary measure. AURA, which manages Sacramento Peak with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is working with the proper authorities on this issue. We have no further comment at this time,” AURA spokesperson Shari Lifson told VICE News.
So, aliens maybe? Please let it be aliens. Though we’re not quite sure if we’re ready for the IRL version of X-Com just yet.