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Mysterious closure of solar observatory in New Mexico was prompted by FBI child porn investigation

The mysterious closure of the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico, Sept. 6 was caused by a child pornography investigation. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

An FBI investigation into child pornography caused the mysterious 11-day closure of the solar observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico.

The sudden closure and evacuation of the National Solar Observatory on Sept. 6 led to many rumors and speculation. Most of it was driven the by so-called conspiracy theories relating to the nearby U.S. military installations and the New Mexico town of Roswell, famous for its UFO lore.

Social media, conspiracy theorists, and media outlets speculated whether closure was caused by alien sightings or the impending arrival of giant asteroids. But the real reason had nothing to do with “The X-Files.”

What's the story?

FBI court documents showed that a janitor working at the facility was allegedly sending and receiving child porn via the observatory’s wireless system. The facility was closed after the suspect reportedly became agitated that his laptop was missing. The suspect has not been charged nor arrested, Reuters news reported.

The case is still under investigation, Frank Fisher, a spokesman for the FBI field office in Albuquerque, told the news outlet.

A warrant issued by a U.S. magistrate in Las Cruces, New Mexico, revealed that agents seized three cell phones, five laptops, one iPad, an external hard drive, 16 thumb drives, 89 compact flash disks and other material from the suspect’s home on Sept. 14.

According to The Albuquerque Journal, the janitor began questioning others at the observatory about missing “cleaning supplies.” The janitor also reportedly complained about “lax security” at the facility and suggested someone was breaking into the facility at night to use the internet and steal toilet paper.

The Journal reported:

As time went on, agents say the janitor’s actions grew increasingly “frantic” and he continually approached the chief observer with questions and comments about missing items.

“(The janitor) had continued to look feverishly through the facility and continued to make comments about the lax security,” an agent wrote in the search warrant.

The janitor went as far as saying the observatory’s decoy security cameras were a joke and it was only a matter of time until it “got hit,” according to the report.

The National Science Foundation, National Solar Observatory, and Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy oversee the observatory and decided to evacuate and close the facility when the janitor suggested there was a serial killer in the area who could possibly enter the facility and execute someone, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The observatory reopened on Monday.

What is the area's history?

The observatory is two-hour drive from Roswell, the site of unidentified flying objects reports in 1947. The Air Force later said the objects were top secret, high-altitude weather balloons. But even today, the story continues to capture the curiosity and imagination of many.

UFO believers theorize that a flyer saucer crashed near Roswell and the alien crew and the space ship were recovered by the government and then taken to a top-secret site in Nevada for testing and examination.

One last thing…
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