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ORAC
15th Sep 2018, 05:21
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/alien-conspiracy-sunspot-observatory-new-mexico-fbi-shutdown-blackhawk-a8537291.htmlSpace observatory at centre of alien conspiracy asks for ‘patience’ after evacuation by the FBISolar facility was swooped on by FBI in helicopters who evacuated it – and nothing has been heard since

A space observatory at the centre of swirling alien conspiracy theories (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/alien-life-conspiracy-theory-sunspot-observatory-fbi-evacuation-latest-a8535676.html) has asked for “patience” as it continues to be locked down.

The Sunspot Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico caught the attention of the world when it was shut down by FBI agents who reportedly swooped on the facility after arriving in elite Blackhawk helicopters.

It led immediately to suggestions the advanced technology inside of the facility spotted something it shouldn’t – such as proof of extraterrestrials, UFOs or even some baseless speculation that the observatory had spotted that the sun has started dying. The fact the observatory is only about 120 miles from the site of the Roswell UFO incident has only fuelled speculation.

The FBI and the administrators of the facility have said only that the shutdown happened because of a “security issue”. In the days since, the sheriff's department has said it has no idea what is going on. And the lockdown continues with no new information. Now, the observatory itself has spoken out to thank people for their patience. But it didn’t reveal any more about what is actually going on.

The National Solar Observatory, which manages the facility, gave an update on Facebook that was shared on the observatory’s own page. “AURA – our management organisation – is addressing a security issue at Sunspot Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico and has decided to temporarily vacate the facility as a precautionary measure,” the NSO said.

That post was responded to with a flurry of comments from followers who asked why the NSO was continuing to keep the facts secret. Many mentioned alien conspiracy theories, or speculation that observations had shown there was something wrong with the sun.

Another message on the observatory's website references the intense interest in the closure and says that administrators are working hard to open the facility again. “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,” it reads.

That message was also posted on the observatory's Instagram page and was greeted with a flurry of curious messages. “Why don’t you just tell us what is going on?” wrote one. “This is not cool. FBI needs to be frank.”

https://gizmodo.com/telescope-did-not-see-aliens-director-of-mysteriously-1829058158

Hokulea
15th Sep 2018, 08:53
This is so weird. When I first heard the story I thought it might be a mercury leak as I believe the telescope there is one that has its primary mirror floating on a thin film of mercury - several older telescopes were designed this way. However, such a leak wouldn't involve the FBI (unless it was deliberate). The alien stuff is nonsense and I can't see any reason that this is connected to the recent solar storm, I believe that's just coincidence.

It'll be interesting to see what the real story is. I don't want to fuel speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's as simple as a possible violation of ITAR or data security. I've recently been grilled by officials about the observatory I work at and the possibility of it being used for nefarious purposes and what are able to do to stop foreign agents. It seemed over the top to me but I guess it's the modern world.

Captain Dart
15th Sep 2018, 10:04
A few days old but some speculation and comments:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/09/12/weird-fbi-closes-national-solar-observatory-over-mysterious-security-issue/

Hokulea
20th Sep 2018, 06:26
Finally, there seems to be an answer; allegedly, the facility's janitor was downloading child porn.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sunspot-solar-observatory-new-mexico-search-warrant-reveals-child-pornography-investigation-2018-09-19/

Several other news sites are reporting the same thing.

G-CPTN
20th Sep 2018, 07:49
Curiouser and curiouser . . .

Is it interstellar porn?

ORAC
20th Sep 2018, 07:51
Really? And for that they call out the Blackhawks instead of a patrol car?

Hokulea
20th Sep 2018, 08:36
I'll admit there's still much of the story to be explained although I wonder if the stories of blackhawks was a little exaggerated.

Pontius Navigator
20th Sep 2018, 11:11
Is it not likely that they wanted to exploit the seizure and catch his customers too?

ethicalconundrum
20th Sep 2018, 14:26
There's only one road in and out of Sunspot. It's a very isolated place. Also at about 9000 feet elevation, with little water around. I don't get all the Fed response either, except they need to justify their bloated budget. Report now are ONE, old janitor was logging in to the site WiFi and using it to download and then dist porn. This could have been handled with a Ranger out of the station in Cloudcroft, or maybe backed up by Otero county sheriff with a deputy. But no - the feds have to roll out the big deal, with air support for a geezer with a laptop.

Woe is this nation. We're a police state and no going back I'm afraid.

racedo
21st Sep 2018, 22:56
There's only one road in and out of Sunspot. It's a very isolated place. Also at about 9000 feet elevation, with little water around. I don't get all the Fed response either, except they need to justify their bloated budget. Report now are ONE, old janitor was logging in to the site WiFi and using it to download and then dist porn. This could have been handled with a Ranger out of the station in Cloudcroft, or maybe backed up by Otero county sheriff with a deputy. But no - the feds have to roll out the big deal, with air support for a geezer with a laptop.

Woe is this nation. We're a police state and no going back I'm afraid.

Porn on a federal computer.................. hell if FBI had to be called in each time they would need to triple number of agents.
Something smells.

Bit like white powder after 9/11 when needed to evacuate and search everywhere in Washinghton..............

WingNut60
21st Sep 2018, 23:10
Bit like white powder after 9/11 when needed to evacuate and search everywhere in Washinghton..............

That anthrax thing was never resolved, was it?

Hokulea
22nd Sep 2018, 11:59
A Blue Ribbon committee has been appointed to consider renaming the town where the observatory is located to G Spot... :ok:

Boom, Tish, Taxi!

- Ed :p That post was just sick. I don't care if it was meant as a joke but child porn is disturbing as it gets and to try and make a joke about it is disgusting as it gets.

racedo
22nd Sep 2018, 12:22
That anthrax thing was never resolved, was it?

Not in a manner that you would think it should be.

cavuman1
22nd Sep 2018, 15:22
Kind Sir - I thoroughly agree with your sentiments regarding the reprehensibility of child pornography. I had not read the story completely and failed to realize the nature of the seized materials. I have removed my post in hopes that you'll accept my apology...

- Ed

Nervous SLF
22nd Sep 2018, 20:08
Kind Sir - I thoroughly agree with your sentiments regarding the reprehensibility of child pornography. I had not read the story completely and failed to realize the nature of the seized materials. I have removed my post in hopes that you'll accept my apology...

- Ed

I have to say that I did wonder when I read your post IF you had read the whole story and I am now
relieved to see that you hadn't. :ok:

Hokulea
23rd Sep 2018, 11:30
Kind Sir - I thoroughly agree with your sentiments regarding the reprehensibility of child pornography. I had not read the story completely and failed to realize the nature of the seized materials. I have removed my post in hopes that you'll accept my apology...

- Ed

Thanks. It's not every day I get annoyed but really aoppreciate your response and certainly accept your apology.

currawong
23rd Sep 2018, 11:56
Is it normal to shut down/ evacuate a facility in such cases?

Hokulea
23rd Sep 2018, 12:29
I can only talk about the observatories on Mauna Kea in Hawai.

As far as I'm aware, the observatories have never shut down due to disturbing behavior. There was one person I remember being caught and it pretty much ended his career after a spell in jail. It opened up my mind and realized that even the most intelligent people are capable of reprehensible behavior.

VP959
23rd Sep 2018, 14:20
I know of one case at Andover in the late 1990s where they had to shut down the local intranet for two or three days, effectively closing down that particular department, whilst the police, together with the MOD police, investigated, and then successfully prosecuted, a member of staff who had been downloading/exchanging child pornography whilst ostensibly working overtime in the evenings. Someone with more knowledge than I will probably be better able to explain why, but my understanding is that they needed to obtain evidence from the system servers to prove that it was his log in on dates and times that he was in the office that had been used to download the material. The stuff stored locally on his laptop was enough to prosecute him (it's how he was found - the IT people found it when his laptop needed repair) but not enough to trace those he'd been exchanging stuff with, to get that they needed to forensically examine the servers, I think. IIRC, everyone working in that department was sent home for a few days whilst the investigation was underway, and I don't think they were told why, either. The story only came out when they returned to work to find a colleague had been suspended and his desk cleared.