Watch This Guy Go Up To The Mysteriously Evacuated Sunspot Observatory And Walk All Around
The Youtuber crossed the security tape and explored the deserted complex unimpeded, but now there are security guards at the property's entrance.
As a followup to our widely circulated analysis on the mysterious evacuation of the Sunspot Solar Observatory complex that looks over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, I wanted to post this video of a Youtuber driving up to the taped off entry and proceeding to walk all around the totally deserted compound.
The video is outright eerie. Nobody was there, not even a security guard. The only thing moving was a small drone he spotted overhead. Who was controlling that drone is unknown. Maybe the most bizarre moment, albeit in a coincidental way, is when he spots an X-files: Unrestricted Access DVD laying out prominently in one of the buildings.
It's also worth noting that the video reminds us that there is a large water tower at the site (see 11:17) that could offer an ideal and unassuming location for placing sensors to monitor the activities that go on in, above, and around the valley below—many of which are classified. One area that is not seen in the video is the small rough-field landing strip that is nestled below the summit but is also a part of the facility. It's unclear when the airfield was last used, but judging by its size, it could only accommodate bush planes and helicopters.
The video was shot on September 13th, 2018, but on Sept. 14 The Washington Post reported that a pair of guards, from Red Rock Security & Patrol, based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, more than 60 miles to the southwest, were stationed at the entrance to the enclave. They said that had no information on what was going on and were on orders to only allow the observatory’s “director and an assistant” past.
It is not clear who hired them, but the nature of their instructions would imply that AURA had arranged from the security detail. The Post said that there had been no other signs of law enforcement in the area, which reinforces the general state of affairs we can see in the video above, taken on the day before.
The Washington Post, talking to James McAteer, a professor at New Mexico State University and director of the Sunspot Solar Observatory consortium writes:
McAteer said his consortium assigns four researchers to the facility, although the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), another consortium, manages the buildings and other infrastructure with another four or five people.
That consortium, McAteer said, had ordered the site vacated, providing no other reason than a “security” issue. He said the researchers did not spot anything in the sun to necessitate them leaving, nor were they aware of any scientific reason — such as an anomaly in the data they were collecting — for doing so.
The property manager also came in to the post office on the facility and asked the woman working there to leave, but gave no indication why that was necessary, said Rod Spurgeon, a Postal Service spokesman. Spurgeon said post office operations have continued at the nearby Cloudcroft facility.
Kinsey Featherston, a spokeswoman for Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-N.M.), said the congressman’s office had reached out to the FBI and were told “it is an ongoing investigation.”
“We will continue monitoring the situation, but at this time, we have no information,” she said.
Even with these new tidbits of information, it seems we are still left with more questions than answers, but a counter-intelligence operation focused on some form of espionage still seems like a likely explanation.
Update: 5:27pm PDT—
An esteemed member of our discussion crew, ThisWasMyName, pointed out that the drone videos taken while our Youtube explorer checked out the grounds are available on Youtube as well. Regardless of the mystery, these are breathtaking videos. What a cool facility that seems to have a lot of potential beyond astronomy. Check out the videos below:
We have posted another update to this story you can find linked here.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com