The abrupt closure of a solar observatory in New Mexico last week due to an undisclosed ‘security issue’ has sparked countless conspiracy theories across the internet, most of which center on extraterrestrial activity.
And, the ongoing silence has done nothing but stoke the fire.
The National Solar Observatory in Sunspot has been closed since last Thursday, along with the nearby post office, but officials remain tight-lipped as to what’s going on.
The secrecy persists even as local media report the FBI has showed up to the site, and Blackhawk helicopters have been seen circling overhead.
Now, the observatory has finally issued a statement on its website and across social media, but it’s done little to quell the excitement, offering no explanation on why the facility was shut down.
The National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, NM has been closed since last Thursday, along with the nearby post office, and employees affected have no idea why. The mysterious activity coincides with a solar storm, which hit Earth this week
The Sunspot Solar Observatory tweeted a link to its statement on Thursday Sept 13, exactly a week after the initial shutdown.
‘On Thursday September 6th, AURA made the decision to temporarily close Sunspot,’ the observatory said in a statement shared on social media.
‘The Sunspot Solar Observatory continues to work closely with AURA in order to allow for us to reopen as soon as possible.
‘With the excitement this closure has generated, we hope you will come and visit us when we do reopen, and see for yourself the services we provide for science and public outreach in heliophysics.’
Though several days have passed since the evacuation, no details have been released.
The facility is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), and has been vacant since September 6.
Last week, a spokesperson for AURA told the Alamogordo Daily News that they evacuated as a ‘precautionary measure.’
Otero County Sheriff Benny House revealed that even local law enforcement has been kept in the dark, despite being told to stand by.
‘The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on,’ House told Alamogordo Daily News.
The observatory has finally issued a statement on its website and across social media, but it’s done little to quell the excitement, offering no explanation on why the facility was shut down
‘We’ve got people up there 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.
‘There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.’
As of September 11, officials confirmed the facilities were still closed, and would not be reopened until they were given the green light.
‘We were told on September 6th that we would be evacuated along with the surrounding area, we were not told why,’ USPS spokesperson Rod Sturgeon told ABC 7 KVIA.
‘We were just told to be out of the area. We remain suspended until we are allowed to return.’
The mysterious activity has sparked conspiracy theories across the internet given its alignment with with this week’s solar storm. A solar storm that could damage power supplies, affect satellites and trigger aurora was expected to slam the Earth’s atmosphere Sept 11
BELIEVE IN CONSPIRACY THEORIES? YOU’RE PROBABLY A NARCISSIST, RESEARCHERS SAY
People who doubt the moon landings are more likely to be selfish and attention-seeking, according to a recent study.
Over the course of three online-based studies, researchers at the University of Kent showed strong links between the belief in conspiracy theories and negative psychological traits.
Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the team explained: ‘Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem.’
In the first study, a total of 202 participants completed questionnaires on conspiracy beliefs, asking how strongly they agreed with specific statements, such as whether governments carried out acts of terrorism on their own soil.
Alongside this, they were asked to complete a narcissist scale and a self-esteem assessment.
The results showed that those people who rated highly on the narcissism scale and who had low self-esteem were more likely to be conspiracy believers.
Conspiracies were further fueled by the mysterious incident’s alignment with a geomagnetic storm, which sent charged solar particles streaming toward’s Earth’s atmosphere earlier this week.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a storm watch for a G2-level solar storm which is considered ‘moderate’ on the 5-level scale (5 is the highest).
Apart from potential GPS disturbances and disruptions to satellites, however, the event of this scale would have little effect on day to day business.