back to article No, that Sunspot Solar Observatory didn't see aliens. It's far more grim

On September 6, the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico, USA, was evacuated and sealed off without explanation, sparking wild conspiracy theories as to why. Since it's an observatory, the favorite theory was that it had spotted aliens, and the lockdown was part of a coverup to prevent public panic. No, there weren't any …

  1. AndyFl
    Alien

    Unconvinced

    You close an entire science facility for several weeks because the Janitor may have been sending child porn?

    This would appear to a bit of an overreaction to say the least[1]! Conspiracy nuts will not be convinced, I am not entirely convinced! So what REALLY happened?

    Andy

    [1] There is never an excuse for child porn, it is a horrendous thing.

    1. usbac

      Re: Unconvinced

      This is America. We seem to lead the world in overreaction. We practically invented it.

      It's what makes terrorism so successful here...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Unconvinced

        Can't take any chances, should probably shut down all the other telescopes as well

        1. Waseem Alkurdi
          Trollface

          Re: Unconvinced

          And the Internet too.

        2. EarthCitizen

          Re: Unconvinced

          Are you suggesting that all the janitors are potentially abusing the telescopes to look at alien child pron? Wow the mind boggles.

        3. Avatar of They Silver badge

          Re: Unconvinced

          The way Trump is steering his climate advisors, science advisors and tech views. That might not be too far from the truth.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unconvinced

        'We seem to lead the world in overreaction.'

        Yes, just mention gun control laws...

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Unconvinced

      You don't shut down the entire facility to deal with one presumeably unarmed & unaware individual. You send in a max of four agents to apprehend him quietly in such a way that the other employees need not even know the take down was/had happened. The janitor won't be suspecting/expecting to be escorted from the property pinned in by four big goons with guns, and even if he's stupid enough to try something, four armed goons can take him down before he can clear a holster. So unless you suspected him of having rigged the place to explode like a terrorist suicide bomber, "protecting the other staff" is as simple as frog marching the guy off the property hemmed in by four big bulls in suits.

      You don't have to be a conspiracy nut to think they're not telling the truth about what happened, you merely have to look at the timeline of publicly available details & note that they not only don't add up, the picture the ThreeLetterAgency tries to make it present leaves a hell of a lot of holes & edges that don't match. If you're already disinclined to believe anything a TLA agent says, this kind of crappy jigsaw puzzle job of hammering unmatched pieces together & claiming they fit perfectly just makes you even MORE incredulous in disbelief.

      1. EarthCitizen

        Re: Unconvinced

        I've seen Men in Black and have seen how innocuous looking janitors can really be Aliens in disguise armed to their alien teeth... 4 puny human agents will be nothing to them.

      2. tfb Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Unconvinced

        Yes, you can certainly rely on whoever it was being unarmed and unaware. Because people in America never carry guns and never decide it might be a good idea to kill a bunch of their colleagues. Oh, wait: yes, yes they do, don't they?

      3. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: Unconvinced

        In the USA, actually you kinda do have to do that becuase people ARE ARMED to the Teeth!

        Anyone can Open Carry in teh US state of New Mexico which means I can carry my 9mm or five of them strapped to my waist for all the see! I can also buy and have 1 or 10 or MORE AR-15's semi-auto rifles as a I see fit! So with people's mental health and in a country where there have been 4 disgruntled worker shootings in 3 days...YEAH! I kinda see why they would shut the facility down from a physical point of view.

        Then you add in the virus and malware that USUALLY accompanies dark web material again that is a HUGE security risk so it all needs to be checked, scanned, cleaned up and tested.

        --

        Alien have been around for thousands of years on Earth. They're Here. There Over There. They're Everywhere. Get Over It!

    3. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Unconvinced

      What really happened was aliens. Read the article again, that's what it says.

      I'm pretty sure anyway.

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Devil

        "What really happened was aliens"

        I'm quite sure the janitor was an alien who illegally entered the country.

    4. Crazy Operations Guy

      Porbably not just down due to the FBI

      I'm thinking that they shut everything down not to arrest the guy, but to clean up the network and verify that everything is clean. He was on their network, and child porn tends to come paired with more than a few malware nasties (or at least in my experience of cleaning up networks that had been used by pedos to share their materials).

      Two weeks does sound about right for how long it would take for the Feds to take what they need, and for an IT team to come in to quarantine the network, re-image everything that can be re-imaged, and do thorough scans on things that can't, and then replace any equipment that the feds took for their investigation.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Porbably not just down due to the FBI

        Let's add to that.. they probably had to check out not just the computers but also the employees themselves. Two weeks does sound about right to go through the whole system, etc.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Porbably not just down due to the FBI

          they probably had to check out not just the computers but also the employees themselves.

          What? The Janitor was the infectious type of 'P' was he.

          Wonder if it's like leprosy? Is there a stage where they can no longer pass it on?

          Or do they become more contagious - and the Feds had to lock-down the area and mind-wipe everyone just in case he gained the ability to beam the sick images into peoples heads as a clever hidden backup???

      2. Trollslayer Silver badge

        Re: Porbably not just down due to the FBI

        That makes sense.

      3. jarfil

        Re: Porbably not just down due to the FBI

        Security conscious pedos don't need to let malware in, it's just media content after all... but then again, you probably won't catch someone who's security conscious, so you're probably right that if you catch them, then they probably got tons of malware too.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unconvinced

      Yeah, this is crap.

      I once handled an internal investigation into an employee and illegal pr0n. I didn't have to shut down the business. I gathered evidence, followed proper chain-of-custody, contacted law enforcement, and marched that sick bastard right the hell out of the building. Few employees even knew that it had happened until years later.

      This is, of course, the cherry on top of the Conspiracy Nut sundae, coming mere days after an alleged terrorist training camp in NM was destroyed by state authorities before it could be thoroughly investigated by federal authorities. What the hell is going on in that state?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What the hell is going on in that state?

        Roswell, that's where all the alien pedos are. They landed in 1947 and have only just managed to get internet access which is how they were finally caught. They tried to escape which is why the observatory was shut down. I can't say anymore due to the van parked near my house. I fear I know too much. If anything happens to me can someone look after snuggles my cat, he's house trained and doesn't bother with the wearing of tin foil.

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          Re: What the hell is going on in that state?

          Given Rule 34, there's sure to be alien pedo out there somewhere. I'm out of mindbleach, otherwise I'd go search for it.

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: What the hell is going on in that state?

            Alien Paedo? A.P. befriends a young boy and his even younger siblings by mirroring his movements, convinces him the share a psychic connection, leaves him to wake up alone in a field with vague memories of a glowing finger while A.P fled from the FBI. Spielberg made a documentary of it in the '80s.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unconvinced

      "You close an entire science facility for several weeks because the Janitor may have been sending child porn?"

      It does seem somewhat fishy. But...

      According to the official statement on the closure <http://aura-astronomy.org/news/news.asp?newsID=389>:

      "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."

      and

      "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. That was a risk we could not take. "

      So how about: the observatory management didn't get told much by the FBI, but did get told that the FBI were worried about something, so they decided that the best idea was just to send people away for an unscheduled holiday. What with the observatory being in the USA, it's reasonable to assume that the janitor might well have possessed firearms - and maybe the FBI had found he was looking up stuff about bombs or somesuch as well as dealing in child sex abuse images.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        In other news: "Developer goes rogue, shoots four colleagues"

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/09/20/developer_work_shooting/

        That's US, you have to be careful about your colleagues and the janitors too...

    7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Unconvinced

      I am not convinced safety was the real reason with what we know so far. True it is a remote location and the scumbag obviously had access to the wifi system. But downloading child porn does not automatically mean he is a violent felon or even owns a gun. Securing the logs would only require the cooperation of the sys admins and arresting scumbag can be done in way that catches him unawares (as noted by another poster).

      I wonder if the child porn charges were an accidental discovery during another cyber investigation and it is now being used as a cover. There are plenty of terrestrial reasons for a possible investigation were they want the facility shut down for a few days.

    8. DougS Silver badge

      The Register's link doesn't have the whole story

      The stories I saw elsewhere said the guy made "veiled threats" against the facility, so if he suggested that maybe he was going to "blow the place the up" they would want to close it down to look for bombs. A janitor would have access to every nook and cranny, so they'd have to be pretty thorough.

      They'd also probably want to make sure he didn't do anything that could potentially compromise the data being collected, as years of research could be ruined if that happens. Closing the facility so they can look for bombs, then once that's done check the integrity of data and verify he hasn't left behind any malware or other software nasties seems a wise precaution.

      The one thing that doesn't make sense is why not just say that up front when it was closed? Was the janitor not arrested yet and they didn't want to alert him (if I was doing something that illegal I'd assume if the place I worked at unexpectedly closed they were on to me...)

      For those who think this is all a cover story, why would they wait so long to come up with such a bland cover story? They could have made this up an hour after the facility was shut down. If their goal was to allay suspicion for whatever alien conspiracy they wanted to cover up, waiting so long to explain the cover story certainly didn't help!

      1. onefang Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: The Register's link doesn't have the whole story

        "If their goal was to allay suspicion for whatever alien conspiracy they wanted to cover up, waiting so long to explain the cover story certainly didn't help!"

        Ah, but if you wait that long, lots of conspiracy theories will popup all by themselves. Then the real one can easily hide in all the noise.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Register's link doesn't have the whole story

        '..For those who think this is all a cover story, why would they wait so long to come up with such a bland cover story?

        Long? it took them 47 years to come up with the Roswell Report, and as for bland cover story, they do have form you know...

        Two words: Weather Balloon (Another two words: Marsh Gas)

    9. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Unconvinced

      On top of that they did not tell the local police why

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unconvinced

        The FBI is notorious for not working with local law enforcement. It's even a trope in the entertainment industry.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          It makes sense they didn't alert the local cops

          This is a VERY small town, what if the janitor was friends with one of the local cops and was tipped off? Its a different matter in a big city, the chances of a random janitor happening to know someone on the police force who is involved with the FBI on a particular case are tiny. But the FBI still might not want to take the risk.

    10. tfb Silver badge

      Re: Unconvinced

      What really happened was probably: they knew someone at the place was downloading something nasty using its internet connection. But they didn't know who: they just knew it was coming from an address in the place, and they certainly did not know enough to nick whoever it as. So they closed it down and sent everyone home. Now they can (a) quietly pore over the machines there to try and work out who it was, and (b) keep watching for the same patterns, this time coming from someone's private address.

      But of course it wasn't that, it was aliens, or possibly liberals: liberal aliens?

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unconvinced

      You comment appears to indicate your Nuts..... The universe waited billions of years for mankind to watch it. I'm sure it can take a few days off.

    12. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Unconvinced

      You close an entire science facility for several weeks because the Janitor may have been sending child porn?

      Maybe the janitor was using the facility to take pictures of his naked sun :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, they didn't see aliens

    ...but the sunspot observatory did see places the sun "shouldn't shine".

    =P

    (ok, enough of the sick humor).

  3. frank ly Silver badge

    Wrong way around?

    "The statement added that the small number of staff at the remote location made protection difficult."

    So, if there had been only one person at the remote location, it would have been very difficult. If there had been no staff there, it would have been impossible to protect them?

    1. Joe W

      Re: Wrong way around?

      Yes, like the Lohschmitt-numbers (homeopathy). The less stuff is in there (higher dilution) the more potent the brew is. That's why I drink gin. Get less drunk than from drinking water...

    2. tfb Silver badge

      Re: Wrong way around?

      No, the difficulty of protecting people from other people is not some trivial monotonic function of the number of people you have, if the number is small. When it's one, then there is no difficulty. You can't have a total of two people, because one of them must be the protecting person who then serves no purpose. With two people you need a third protecting person which is very expensive, or you take a risk. Up from there the cost comes down and tends to some fixed proportion (n protecting people per m people being protected), but since you can't supply partial people it comes down rather jerkily and perhaps quite slowly (if you need one person per 20, say, but you only have five people, you're paying way over the odds and may decide not to have anyone at all, meaning there is no protection). So yes, small numbers of people are hard to protect, where 'small numbers' means 'more than one'.

  4. Daedalus Silver badge

    The surprising thing is....

    ...that a janitor was able to do all that stuff on the Internet, considering that CEO's and HR droids, all the way down to junior VP's of furniture arrangement, seem to have trouble understanding basic concepts like "needs electricity" and "has to be connected to something". And passwords. Oh yeah, passwords.

    Betcha the janitor was a former techie in another country who couldn't get a job worthy of his skills here.

    "In Russia I am professor of theoretical physics. In America I am janitor" - The Big Bang Theory.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The surprising thing is....

      >that a janitor was able to do all that stuff on the Internet

      It's a university observatory.

      Observatories tend not to have strict levels of network access security - cos the universe is pretty public.

      It's hard enough getting some staff to use decent passwords = "None of my stuff is secret - I don't care who reads it, why do I need a password?"

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: The surprising thing is....

      "Betcha the janitor was a former techie in another country who couldn't get a job worthy of his skills here."

      That's a rather fascinating leap in logic. There are plenty of native-born skilled techies working as "unskilled" laborers. Why assume this guy isn't American?

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: The surprising thing is....

        Well, how else could I set up the BBT reference?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The surprising thing is....

        I know of at least a couple of School Keepers (janitor) who also do the school's routine tech support. (I also know of a couple on the opposite extreme and wouldn't trust them with a step ladder and a light bulb)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The surprising thing is....

        'That's a rather fascinating leap in logic.'

        Not really, there was a cleaner from 'forn parts' at the Clarendon lab who'd a physics degree (manglement didn't know that, though)..

        'No one notices a sweeper...'

        In London back in the early-mid 90's I could point you to highly intelligent N_g_r__n scammers who obtained work as cleaners in the DSS and local council offices, their fiddly benefit fraud schemes to perform...

        again, no one notices a sweeper...

        Same time period, same city, different location. We had our cleaning services 'outsourced', cue the endless stream of strange faces around the labs at night, cue the start of a spate of strangely but accurately targeted computer thefts (though, as security was outsourced at the same time, there was always a bit of doubt..)

        again, no one notices a sweeper...apart from paranoid bastards like me

        IndyCams were fun, as the machines were on 24/7 - thanks, PVM, it would have been seriously remiss of me not to press them into service.

        Why yes, we did find a whole stash of pilfered high value computer bits in a cleaners storage area..

  5. Cavehomme_

    Jackanory

    Yeah, right, pull the other one.

    A pedo is repulsive, but EVACUATING the WHOLE facility, choppers (of the aerial kind) flying in, houses evacuated, Post Office closed down...all for TWO fucking weeks!?

    That, and half a dozen other similar telescopes around the globe taken offline the the same day.

    Where's Bombastic Bob when we really need him?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Jackanory

      That, and half a dozen other similar telescopes around the globe taken offline the the same day.

      Citation needed. Next up: UN World Government.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Jackanory

      Where's Bombastic Bob when we really need him?

      Don't you mean Alex Jones?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't you mean Alex Jones?

        No, Bob hasn't been deplatformed by the Silicon Valley mafia. Yet.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Jackanory

      Where's Bombastic Bob when we really need him?

      Blaming the Democrats for this?????

    4. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Jackanory

      I've not seen anything about other solar observatories going offline, but it would make sense.

      These kinds of facilities tend to share a lot of information with each other, so if they were afraid that the network had been compromised then there would be a chance that other collaborating facilities may also have been compromised.

    5. Paul 195

      Re: Jackanory

      >> Where's Bombastic Bob when we really need him?

      He's run out of capital letters and is waiting for a fresh delivery.

    6. tfb Silver badge

      Re: Jackanory

      I am struggling to resist making an extremely defamatory comment here.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    They talked to Penfold?

    KRQE?

    I'll bet he had as much to add as the local puppets

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Sounds like a mad lib!

    Or a Clue solution!

    Janitor, in the observatory, peddling porn... for quite some time?

  8. DCFusor Silver badge

    Once the state discovers they can lie

    without any real consequence, you can expect quite a lot more of this kind of thing...oh wait, there already is quite a lot more obvious "can't possibly add up" stuff going on.

    Funny they indemnify themselves from any recourse/lawsuit/etc from the public, often using the words "national security" as if they were an unbreakable magic spell.

    I agree - calling Bombastic Bob, where are you when we need you?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since they did something so high profile to apprehend the suspect, how are they going to find an unbiased jury to try him?

  10. JohnFen Silver badge
    Coat

    The reality is clear

    The observatory did find an alien. He just happened to be a child-porn-loving janitor.

    1. Jay Lenovo
      Trollface

      Re: The reality is clear

      So busy with their heads in the clouds, they didn't notice the child porn streaming on in. Who's gonna clean up this mess? I guess not the janitor.

  11. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Orwell warned us

    "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past," repeated Winston obediently.

    "Who controls the present controls the past," said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. "Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?"

  12. hausjam

    It's not aliens. No one on earth has seen aliens. Don't get me wrong; there is other life out there in the universe. None of them are willing to come anywhere near this disgusting lump of cosmic cesspool.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Don't get me wrong; there is other life out there in the universe.

      May as well say that there isn't, unless we observe it.

    2. Jtom Bronze badge

      Undetected life in the rest of universe has no practical difference to there being no life in the rest of the universe.

  13. ghp

    The janitor probably took part in the SETCP project.

  14. TRT Silver badge

    So it wasn't an alien after all...

    It was the creepy janitor. He used a rubber alien mask to scare away the locals from his child porn smuggling ring!

    Zoinks! Well done, Scooby!

  15. -tim
    Boffin

    Standard procedures?

    Did the FBI want to copy all the images on the local servers too? Observatories tend to have lots of images.

  16. onefang Silver badge
    Alien

    "No, there weren't any green-skinned people."

    How does El Reg know, have they seen the child porn in question? The janitor found a spare telescope, accidentally pointed it in the direction of some green skinned aliens bathroom, just after the alien had taken their monthly rejuvenation treatment. The poor innocent naked senior alien looked under aged, so the FBI took no chances. Don't want our new alien friends thinking we are a planet full of pedos.

  17. julianh72
    Alien

    Of course, if you wanted to hush up an imminent alien invasion, blaming it upon a routine criminal investigation would be the perfect cover!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is quite obviously a cover story

    What probably happened is this.

    Aliens were detected about a year ago, and the janitor went a bit crazy because the authorities told him never to discuss anything about the incident "Or Else!" ... and started downloading dodgy stuff trying to match up the data to known reference points. Alas the FBI got involved and because of compartmentalisation they did not know about the whole aliens thing and "tried" to bust him for CP. Unfortunately during the investigation files with information about the earlier incident were unearthed, and to prevent him retaliating by mailing the drive(s) to the media they closed the post office too.

    And also closed down any linked observatories in case of backup files that had been missed.

    I heard about this on Inforwars, but this is also why Alex Jones had his Twitter account pulled or so it is said. Also have some copies of relevant data suggesting "something" on Vulcan, in fact references to the "Wow!" signal and later FRBs being possibly linked using an entanglement bridge based on antigravity technology... turns out they tried to contact us but we misunderstood.

    They are a lot like us to be fair, different eyes and "Strange alien physiology" (tm) but still similar.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is quite obviously a cover story

      "They are a lot like us to be fair, different eyes and "Strange alien physiology" (tm) but still similar."

      Anime?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is quite obviously a cover story

        Actually not exactly the same. From what I can make out, they are very different to the "classic" Greys.

        The gravity is much higher than ours and as we theorized the planet is indeed tidally locked.

        As magnetic field is way stronger than ours due to persistent MH currents near the core it actually gets about the same radiation as Earth at ground level on the twilight zone so they'd do fine here but not so much in other star systems.

        They spend quite a lot of time underground due to weaker ozone layer and other anomalies but as for appearance their eyes are very large compared with ours and they are about 40% lighter with body mass around 40kg in our gravity so they would have quite high physical strength compared to ours at least for a while.

        A lot of their physiological differences are due to "spawning in a different ocean" and as Roddenberry suggests they have some very strange biochemistry such as different nucleotides.

        Due to relative elemental abundances they use Mg and K much more than we do but share a lot of similarities such as very acute hearing up to 26 kHz but consequentially lower sensitivity at below 2kHz.

        1. 's water music Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: This is quite obviously a cover story

          Do you know what the best feature of your troll post is?

          ...with body mass around 40kg in our gravity...

          I can barely resist responding to that bit. Well played sir

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've seen this story somewhere before.

    People scared by what appears to be some kind of alien monster. In the end it turns out the be a Janitor misbehaving.

    He would have got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've seen this story somewhere before.

      He would have got away with it if it wasn't for meddling with those kids.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: I've seen this story somewhere before.

        Sooo, let me get this right.

        You're saying they've arrested Freddie Kruger?

        That's demons not aliens is NM on a Hellmouth?

  20. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    Next news...

    Trump tweets about a Wall In The Sky to keep those aliens from (black?) s...hole planets away.

    Croppers complain about the lack of light. Lazy people happy because they can sleep better.

  21. panamasteve

    New Mexico resident

    As you know, New Mexico has had some weird shit going on for decades. What does not make sense is helicopters coming in and people climbing over radio transmission towers in Sunspot. The NSO has line-of-sight to White Sands and other federal facilities. And why evacuate the Sunspot post office? Child porn is disgusting, however, have you ever heard of a child porn suspect who has been investigated by by the FBI with helicopters and technicians flown in for an investigation? The NSO facility was easily accessed by the public with no security at the gate. There was no reason for security at the site because there was simply solar observations going on at the site. As a ham radio operator, observing the sun can inform us "hams" as to radio frequency propagation, which enables us to plan when we would like to communicate with distant parts of the world on different radio frequencies. The NSO has absolutely nothing to do national security and is there as a facility to scientifically study our "star." The search warrants that were made public claiming a janitor was using their internet connection to service his child pornography sickness holds no water. I cannot fathom the response of the government to such an event that unfortunately happens all over the country with law enforcement actions on child pornographers. Conspiracy theorists aside, there was more to this action than what has been made public.

  22. Maelstorm Bronze badge
    Trollface

    Maybe, just maybe...

    Maybe, just maybe he was using the telescope to spy on naked kids taking a bath through their bathroom windows. With a telescope that big, you could almost see through walls.

  23. telecine

    Utter BS story.

    So obvious that something else was afoot.

  24. wayward4now
    Alien

    I know the truth

    Unmarked helicopters, hovering

    The lord is coming soon

    Unmarked helicopters, hovering

    They said it was a weather balloon

    I know the truth

    I know the whole shebang

    I know the names of men they had to hang

    I let her out of the trunk

    I heard what she said at them

    They've come to drag her through the double-M

  25. tmulcahy

    The child porn being sent from and received at the observatory's IP address was just the beginning. In July, agents searching a child protection database had found child pornography linked to an IP address at the Sunspot observatory. The feds then monitored all the IP addresses and found the exact time child porn was being sent out, which matched only the janitor. Once the computer was found and porn observed on it, it was siezed. The secrecy was to allow the janitor time to implicate himself, although he was the only possible person in the building at the time of the uploads and downloads. Anyway, there was more:

    According to the observatory director, once the janitor realized his computer was no longer there, he "feverishly started looking through the facility." The director said the janitor also started making comments about "lax security at the facility," said it was "only a matter of time before the facility got hit, and he "believed there was a serial killer in the area" and that killer might enter the facility and execute someone. The director said that's when he became concerned for his personal safety, and along with the agencies that operate the facility decided to evaluate it and shut it down.

  26. 's water music Silver badge

    What was the janitor's name and demeanor, dammit?

    Henry, etc

    Came for the Hong kong phooey jokes. Disappointed.

  27. Clockworkseer

    Given as I am to paranoia, aliens were never on my list of "reasons to shut the facility down."

    To me it was much more likely someone had seen something military or government or somesuch that they really shouldn't have, and the closure was more cleanup.

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