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astronomy
03/28/2011 07:00:00

Canadian Universities Join Consortium to Build Telescope in Chile

Seven Canadian universities have joined a Caltech and Cornell University-led consortium to build CCAT, a proposed 25-meter aperture telescope. The telescope-which will occupy a site 18,400 feet above sea level on Cerro Chajnantor, a mountain in Chile's Atacama desert-will become the world's largest, most precise, and highest astronomical facility of its kind, and will give astronomers a new window into star and galaxy formation.

Taking advantage of fast-developing detector technology in the submillimeter-wavelength electromagnetic domain, CCAT will act as a surveyor of cosmic structures. Its extremely wide field of view also will enable large-scale surveys of the sky, complementing the international Atacama Large Millimeter Array now under construction on the plateau below CCAT's site.

The Canadian contingent-which includes the University of Waterloo, the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, McGill University, the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, and the University of Calgary-joins Caltech, Cornell and their partners, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Germany's University of Cologne and University of Bonn, and Associated Universities Inc. of Washington, D.C.

Written by Lori Oliwenstein