OK, what’s going on with the Sunspot Observatory?

This is weird.

Sunspot Observatory was closed and evacuated Sept. 6 due to an undisclosed security risk. Federal officials aren’t saying why it was closed, and the silence has led to international media coverage and plenty of speculation.


AURA released a statement Friday, stating it has “decided that the observatory will remain closed until further notice due to an ongoing security concern. The rest of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) facilities remain open and are operating normally.”

I assumed that it was just a gas leak, or something.  Other people were thinking mercury (they use a mercury float there), but the Sunspot people are categorically denying it.   So… what’s going on, here?  I don’t wanna say ‘eldritch,’ because that’s the obvious ploy — but, geez, make me work for it.  It’s like they’re deliberately setting it up for a technohorror novel treatment.



  • Rockphed says:

    My serious guess: a former employee made threats at other employees. The observatory remains closed until police can search the place for bombs.
    My astrological horror guess: They found a sunspot that didn’t look right. When imaged it seemed to form a grainy picture of the sun spot observatory. As they watched, the picture burst in to flames. Then the picture faded into the words “I am coming”. The sun spot has now grown by 300%.

  • junior says:

    I saw a suggestion somewhere else that the observatory might have been hijacked to spy on a nearby missile base (White Sands, iirc). There’s no evidence within the little bit of information that’s been released. But that’s something that would definitely trigger a Federal investigation, and also something that they wouldn’t want to say anything about until they knew *exactly* what had taken place (and maybe not even then).

    • acat says:

      That’s my guess as well .. the observatory is really too close to White Sands .. just like the Russian embassy in D.C. is too close to certain transmitters ..

  • waco.glenn says:

    Hi. I stumbled across your blog via google, searching on the Sunspot closure. Hope you don’t mind if I contribute.

    My best guess is that it was an idiotic over-reaction by government to something fairly innocuous, like a hobbyist monitoring rocket telemetry out of White Sands, overheard by some mid-management douche and reported.

  • waco.glenn says:

    The Sunspot Solar Observatory re-opens today.

    But I can’t see how their explanation would warrant FBI agents and Blackhawk helicopters (and shut down the site for 10 days)…unless the suspect was a known foreign agent and ran off into the woods or something.

    “AURA has been cooperating with an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal activity that occurred at Sacramento Peak. During this time, we became concerned that a suspect in the investigation potentially posed a threat to the safety of local staff and residents. For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location.

    We recognize that the lack of communications while the facility was vacated was concerning and frustrating for some. However, our desire to provide additional information had to be balanced against the risk that, if spread at the time, the news would alert the suspect and impede the law enforcement investigation.”

  • waco.glenn says:

    Man, I had “Col. Mustard, with a candlestick, in the library”. Instead it was “the janitor, in the observatory, with the Wi-Fi”.

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