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Universität zu Köln
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Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Fachgruppe Physik

I. Physikalisches Institut

The Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope, CCAT-prime

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CCAT-prime will be a 6-meter diameter, 10 micron precision surface telescope operating at submillimeter to millimeter wavelengths and sited at 5600 meters elevation on Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama desert of northern Chile.

The novel crossed-Dragone optical design will deliver a high-throughput wide-field-of-view telescope capable of illuminating >105 (sub)millimeter wavelength detectors so that large areas of the sky can be scanned rapidly. The high altitude, dry site offers superb observing conditions, yielding routine access to the 350 micron atmospheric window as well as improved performance at longer wavelengths. Under the best conditions, observations in the 200 micron window will be possible. Deployment of CCAT-prime on Cerro Chajnantor will provide operational experience at high altitude, reducing risk for the future construction of a 25-meter class submillimeter telescope.

CCAT-prime will be ideally suited, due to its low error beam and large field of view, to probe tracers of the ISM and cloud/star formation over a range of environments in the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds and other nearby galaxies. Spectral large-scale imaging with CHAI (a high spectral resolution heterodyne array receiver being built at the Universität zu Köln, see below) of fine structure and mid- to high-excitation CO lines will serve as diagnostics of physical processes associated with star formation over large spatial scales.

The telescope is being designed and built by VERTEX Antennentechnik GmbH. The construction phase will start in 2017 and is expected to lead to first light in 2021.

Further information:

Official press release of Cornell University.

Official press release of Universität zu Köln and Universität Bonn.