New Mexico

National Solar Observatory, USPS office in Sunspot, NM evacuated for 'safety reasons'

National Solar Observatory USPS office in Sunspot NM evacuated for safety reasons

SUNSPOT, New Mexico - The National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico, and a nearby United States Postal Service office, were evacuated for security reasons Thursday, observatory officials said.

"We have decided to temporarily vacate this facility as a precautionary measure. And we're working with the proper authorities on this issue," Association for Universities for Research in Astronomy spokeswoman Sheri Lofson said.

Friday, both properties remained closed to the public, with yellow caution tape around the property. 

Sunspot is located in the Sacramento Mountains in Otero County about 15 miles south of Cloudcroft. There is currently a working telescope at the observatory, where New Mexico State University also conducts research.

"As locals I feel that we should know what's going on around us," Cloudcroft resident Roger Wiley said. 

A spokesman for the Otero County Sheriff's Office said they are not involved in the investigation. 

A post office in the area has also been shut down.

"Right now, what we're told is that they've temporarily evacuated the area. We haven't been told why or when that expires," said Rod Spurgeon, a spokesman with the USPS. 
 


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