By Tim Binnall
Some intriguing and rather unsettling new theories have been suggested for why the National Solar Observatory in New Mexico was suddenly evacuated and closed last week. Conspiracy theorists and curious local residents have been buzzing about the bizarre incident for the last few days as details surrounding why, exactly, the facility was shuttered remain scant at best. And, as word spread online about the mysterious closure, some prosaic, albeit unnerving, possibilities have been put forward to explain what may be happening in the town of Sunspot.
Perhaps the most promising suggestion comes from the website The Drive, which notes that the National Solar Observatory "enjoys a wide and largely unobstructed view of both the U.S. Air Force's Holloman Air Force Base and the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range." As such, they posit that perhaps the situation at the site involves espionage in the form of some kind of technology surreptitiously installed on one of the antennas as the observatory and aimed at those sensitive installations which sit in an adjacent valley. This, they say, would explain why the local sheriff saw FBI agents examining high altitude areas of the facility.
Meanwhile, another opinion which may have merit is that the closure could be related to a large vat of liquid mercury which sits below a massive solar telescope at the site and is used in the operation of the device. Reasons why the considerable amount of liquid metal could have caught the attention of authorities is that there might have been some kind of spill of the material or even an attempt to harness it as a weapon. However, since the sheriff did not report seeing anyone wearing protective gear, it would seem to suggest that an ongoing environmental hazard is not involved in the issue.
For their part, the evacuated staff from the observatory have done their best to dispel some of the more outlandish rumors surrounding the site's closure. The facility director, James McAteer, assured a local news station that the telescope "did not see aliens." He also promised that, when it comes to information collected by the observatory, "nothing is hidden or kept secret" and that "all data will be made public in its unaltered form" once the kerfuffle has been resolved. To that end, one local resident in Sunspot mused that "my feeling is it’s going to be something stupid and small and minuscule when it’s all said and done." Considering that all of the theories we've seen floated online so far have been fairly worrisome to various degrees, we sincerely hope he is correct.