The Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT) is planned as a 25-meter telescope operating at millimeter to short sub-millimeter wavelengths and located in northern Chile close to the site of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). At an elevation of 18,500 feet the telescope would take advantage of the exceptionally dry air for high frequency observations. Instrumentation containing advanced detector arrays would exploit the telescope's large field of view for surveying wide areas of sky to detect an abundance of high redshift galaxies, to image nearby galaxies and molecular clouds and to discover and study Solar System bodies.
CCAT was called out in the National Academies? Astro2010 Decadal Survey as the highest priority medium-scale project for the decade. CCAT would be a public-private partnership with significant institutional and private investments from Cornell University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado, a consortium of Canadian universities, the German universities of Bonn and Cologne and potentially other domestic and foreign partners. Astro2010 estimated the total construction cost of CCAT to be $140 million ($37 million as the Federal investment) and annual operating costs of $11 million ($7.5 million Federal).
The project has developed a conceptual design for CCAT using institutional and private funds. Funding through this award advances the design and development of the telescope and its enclosure to the level of construction readiness. The CCAT partners intend to provide ongoing institutional contributions to move all other elements of the project to a comparable level of design maturity.