Maunakea Observatories Suspend Summit Activities to Ensure Safety of All During TMT Construction Preparations

The following statement can be attributed to Dr. Jessica Dempsey, Deputy Director, East Asian Observatory: 

“This afternoon, the directors of the existing observatories on Maunakea made the joint decision to withdraw all personnel from their telescope facilities at the summit to guarantee the safety of their staff – the institutions’ top priority. Without guaranteed reliable access to the telescopes, the Maunakea Observatories will suspend all summit activities. We anticipate returning to normal operations as soon as the situation allows.

The safety of everyone on the mountain, Maunakea Observatory staff, law enforcement, and protesters is of paramount importance to us. This is not a decision we came to lightly, but want to emphasize the importance of safety for our staffs and the facilities.

We are truly grateful to the law enforcement agencies that have been working around the clock to ensure the safety of everyone on Maunakea. The safety of our personnel – and of everyone on the mountain – remains our top priority.”

About the Maunakea Observatories

The Maunakea Observatories are a collaboration of independent institutions with telescopes located on Maunakea on the island of Hawai’i. Together, the Observatories make Maunakea the most scientifically productive site for astronomy world-wide. The Maunakea Observatories include: Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope, Gemini International Observatory, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (EAO), NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, Subaru Telescope, Submillimeter Array, United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, University of Hawai’i Hilo Educational Telescope, University of Hawai’i 2.2 Meter Telescope, Very Long Baseline Array, W. M. Keck Observatory (Keck I and Keck II telescopes).