18 | JUL | 2019
Scientists stop work at observatory due to insecurity in Puebla
Mexico’s Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (GTM) is one of the most complex astronomical instruments in the world - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Scientists stop work at observatory due to insecurity in Puebla

09/02/2019
15:35
Newsroom
Mexico City
Leonardo Domínguez
-A +A
Last December, a member of the GTM was robbed by a criminal group that took away his vehicle

Scientists working at Mexico’s Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (GTM), one of the most complex astronomical instruments in the world, and the HAW gamma ray observatory, located in the Sierra Negra volcano in the state of Puebla, have reduced their activity due to high levels of insecurity in the region.

Through a press release, the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics, and Electronics (INAOE) informed that “The pattern of insecurity that prevails in the region is well known. We have already alerted the competent authorities of the problems faced by our workers and we hope that the matter will be addressed soon.”

The Large Millimeter Telescope is located in the Atzitzintla municipality, near the Pico de Orizaba mountain. Both local workers and citizens have reported that criminal groups are taking over the streets leading to the observatory.

“As soon as authorities indicate a strategy to follow, we will resume our normal activities at both observatories. We are willing to cooperate with the authorities for any security strategies they may have in mind,” stated the press release.

Last December, a member of the GTM was robbed by a criminal group that took away his vehicle. INAOE director Leopoldo Altamirano was unable to disclose further details since there is now an ongoing investigation.

Though he did not mention how many people were currently working at the GTM, he assured that the institution had taken preventive measures such as the installation of a panic button in the institute’s vehicles.

Carlos Cárdenas, head of the State Preventive Police, explained that precautionary measures had been established in cooperation with the INAOE so that the researchers could arrive at the observatory safe and sound, though he refused to go into detail regarding specific strategies for security reasons.

We have no arrests or suspects for the time being. There are clear indications of criminal activity in the area and we will work to make it stop. We know that there are criminal groups dedicated to fuel theft operating near the observatory,” added Carlos Cárdenas.

The GAM, a binational U.S.-Mexico project, is dedicated to exploring the physical processes behind the formation and evolution of planetary systems, stars, black holes, and galaxies.
 

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