“The decision to vacate was based on the logistical challenges associated with protecting personnel at such a remote location, and the need for expeditious response to the potential threat. AURA determined that moving the small number of on-site staff and residents off the mountain was the most prudent and effective action to ensure their safety.” -The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)
On September 7th, 2018, the Sunspot Solar Observatory on Sacramento Peak, New Mexico was evacuated, along with locals who lived nearby. During this time, there was a severe lack of communication with local authorities and news outlets. Citizens were not made aware of the reasoning behind the evacuation, and neither were the local law enforcement officials.
(08:19) “You would think that the police officers in the area would need to know things.”
The observatory remained closed during the 11-day investigation. On September 20th, it was reported that the closure was due to an FBI investigation into the janitor and a link to child pornography.