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National Solar Observatory in New Mexico. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

A cloud of suspicion has set in around a New Mexico observatory that was emptied of personnel suddenly last week for unknown reasons, and continues to remain empty, the Washington Post reports.

The details: Per the Post, the entrance to the National Solar Observatory has been "blocked by yellow crime scene tape," and security officers tasked with guarding the entrance said even they didn't know what had happened. A spokeswoman for the nonprofit that runs the observatory has said it "definitely wasn't aliens," per the Post, but speculation still remains.

What happened: On the morning of September 6th, the facility vacated citing a "security" issue, the Post reports.

  • The Otero County Sheriff Benny House said the observatory requested assistance in evacuating the building, but the deputies "saw no evidence of a threat...and left after a few hours."
  • House told the Post: "We tried to find out the threat and what their concerns were. They wouldn't identify anything. They were pretty hush mouthed about it."

New Mexico Rep. Stevan Pearce's office contacted the FBI and "was told there was an 'ongoing investigation." Spokeswoman Kinsey Featherston told the Post they "have no information."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.