Area 51 is the common name of a highly classified United States Air Force facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range. A remote detachment administered by Edwards Air Force Base, the facility is officially called Homey Airport or Groom Lake.
The US government’s official name for Area 51 is the Nevada Test and Training Range, which is a unit of the Nellis Air Force Base.
According to the CIA, the name Area 51 comes from its map designation. It was also previously referred to as "Paradise Ranch" in order to make the facility sound more attractive to those that would be working there. "Paradise Ranch" was then shortened to "the Ranch." Other nicknames include "Watertown" and "Dreamland."
In 1958, under Public Land Order 1662, the 38,400-acre land area was "withdrawn from public use by the US Atomic Energy Commission, a predecessor to the US Department of Energy".
It is located more than 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas. It is restricted to the public and has armed guards patrolling the perimeter. It's also impossible to enter the airspace above without permission from air traffic control.
For many years, Area 51 has been a source of conspiracy theories around the world.