back to article New MeX-Files: The curious case of an evacuated US solar lab, the FBI – and bananas conspiracy theories

The mysterious shutdown and evacuation of a solar research laboratory, tucked away in a forest in New Mexico, USA, has sent the internet abuzz with a flurry of conspiracy theories. The Sunspot Solar Observatory (SSO), located in the Sacramento Mountains, was switched off earlier this month, and staff ordered to leave. The FBI …


  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Maybe they just got bored

    I have been observing the sun for years, and I have rarely seen the sun so quiet, even in Hydrogen alpha light. There were some nice prominences visible on the north-eastern limb yesterday, but otherwise all was quiet. in white light, it is just a dull disk, as my most recent solar image in white light shows. Things are little better in Calcium-K light.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Follow the money

    I suspect it's something much more mundane, like someone running an unauthorized cryptocoin mining farm at the facility. Or there were some discrepancies in the budget which were traced to the observatory.

    If it were aliens or state conspiracy I would expect military or NSA involvement. If the FBI is involved and there are no dead bodies and little local law enforcement involved, then it is probably money related.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Follow the money

      >If it were aliens or state conspiracy I would expect military or NSA involvement.

      That's what they want you to think.

      What if the FBI is really just a front for the Milk Marketing Board ?

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    The real question is .....

    Why isn't 4 days amanfromMars 1 commenting ?

  4. Alistair Silver badge

    perhaps a massive TOR exit point and the FBI are there to check the logs?

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Simple explanation

    > The National Solar Observatory's site 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, both of which regularly host a very wide array of U.S. military research and development programs.

    Holloman & WSMR do a LOT of extremely sensitive stuff.

    1. Triple-J

      Re: Simple explanation

      But Apache Point Observatory and the other scopes a mile away are still open. And no one's been evacuated from the site, even though it's so close to the solar observatory. They also have an excellent view of WSMR and Holloman. For that matter, the "super scary helicopters" are pretty much normal for the area. I've seen lots of cool aircraft zooming by when I've been at APO.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh my, sorry dears, I was off doing something important. Yes, China. Yes, Aliens. Yes, imminent invasion and destruction (on a cosmic time scale anyway).

    A small variation on 三体 - The Three Body Problem. The observatory noticed someone signalling the aliens.

    You need to get out more and read world literature, for better perspective. And read more SciFi. It's all explained therein.

    1. james 68

      Re: 三体

      The kanji "三体" means "3 body" in JAPANESE, now sure kanji has a Chinese origin and therefore the same characters do have a Chinese meaning, "Trisomy" which is a chromosome disorder related to the development of down syndrome. Japanese and Chinese translations of characters are NOT equivalent.

  7. GreenBit

    light unfathomably ancient

    It was Jenkins that first noticed them, impossible though they were, there on the surface of the sun - a cluster of geometric shapes beyond description, angular, faceted, rust coloured .. structures, they could be nothing else. For even as monumental towers of white hot plasma shifted, planet sized beside them, shunting energies sufficient to fry entire worlds down around them, there stubbornly they remained. That anything so solid should appear in that hell-scape held the lot of us spell bound for three days. No one wanted to leave, though on the second sleepless day, Davis's sister phoned to inquire if everything was quite all right. He put her off with a promise to send her the "most remarkable photograph anyone had ever seen". He would have done so the next day but that was when all reason was abandoned.

    It had been standard practice to project the stellar image at times i upon a great round white table, 8 feet across, the better to observe fine detail with un-aided eye. At this point we had exhausted our limited supply of actual food and would have had to send someone into town that day anyway for provisions, and so were subsisting on liberal doses of black coffee. Though it was not customary, we had taken to parking our mugs on the projection table while staring transfixed at the structures there on the sun. That three of us should have been mesmerised by this scene should have beena clue perhaps. Finally Davis declared "enough" and, without further ado threw the switch to turn on the room lights. The span of a breath later, Jenkins made a stifled choking gasp, bolted up knocking over a mug in the process and ran out. Then i saw it, there in my own cup, on the surface of the black liquid, in miniature, that same geometry. And on the table, in the flat light of the projection, a third dimension slowly rising in the spilt coffee, impossible angles, a structure, and as one stared into it, yes of course,a passage of some kind..

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. aliens

    Last I heard, Lietenant Expendable miscalculated the approach and they got a *very* clear shot of the NCC-1701 coming back around the Sun after their slingshot.

    Fortunately because of the angle wrt Earth few if any people saw it.

    The good news is that not half an hour later he "accidentally" got ejected into space while cleaning the plasma manifolds with a Q-tip (tm)

    Either that or they saw the "Gotterdammerung" doing a flight test picking up some solar protons on the way, and harvesting the anti-matter and helium-3.

    What was that film called where someone built a flying sphere in their shed using parts from a junkyard and what looked a bit like an Apple-2 ? also recall something about a faster than light drive.

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: RE. Re. aliens

      Wallace and Gromits Grand Day Out??

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: RE. Re. aliens


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE. Re. aliens

        Yup. I think they ended up using a car battery as a power source in the end because the size of the "bubble" turned out to be dependent on input voltage.

        Interestingly it was said a few years back that someone vanished in mysterious circumstances after building and testing a device they found the plans for in an ancient handwritten folder in a library round here. The story told of a strange high pitched whining noise and a lot of radio/TV interference followed by random windows cracking for miles around. The authorities turned up and found "something strange" in an abandoned greenhouse roughly central to the effect and thats the last we heard of it at least officially because it all got hushed up.

        Perhaps the movie was based on elements of real life incidents?

        My own experiments suggest that there may be ways to generate a field but not using a car battery, you'd need a reliable source of positrons and a containment field with about the same strength as a medical MR scanner most likely using superconducting coils plus a few other parts you "can't just buy at Radio Shack"... and some LN2 or at the very least dry ice/NPS assuming the coils can be made to superconduct at more than 221K somehow or perhaps using tuned IR lasers aimed at the coils to keep them superconducting with only moderate cooling?

        Liquid helium is... problematical.

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Conspiracy Theorists

    Funny how they always assume that only their own country is capable of spotting $whatever and so their own TLAs can easily cover it up. Or that every other government in the world will also cover it up if their people see/find $whatever. Or there's a shadowy world government that's really in charge.

    The reality, obviously, is that there are other solar observatories completely independent of the US systems and they have announced the impending doom of the human race. Only the US citizenry is unaware of it. The rest of us are rampage, pillaging and looting. it's all a plan to piss off the survivalists. They're missing out out on their life's dream event.

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Conspiracy Theorists

      That's not really true, schizophrenics all over the world have delusions about the CIA and FBI being after them or involved in some conspiracy. The CIA and FBI have nice and easy sounding names, and the US exports a lot of culture in the forms of TV shows, Movies ,ect which makes these ideas prevalent globally.

  10. David Roberts Silver badge

    Security incident

    (1) Biosecurity - anything from mercury poisoning to a TexMex chilli aftermath.

    (2) IT security - anything from crypto currency mining to a virus infection

    (3) Physical security - still trying to work out why they accredited the credentials of a Sun reporter

  11. itzman

    Ive always felt that if I was running a conspiracy...

    I'd hide it in a bevy of alternative conspiracy theories.


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