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The magnificent Chilean Andes as seen from the CCAT Observatory site on Cerro Chajnantor

The magnificent Chilean Andes as seen from the CCAT Observatory site on Cerro Chajnantor

Descending from the summit





The scientific goals of CCAT-p motivate its special characteristics of wide-field, high throughput, high surface accuracy and high altitude location. During the telescope’s scientific lifetime, mm/submm detector arrays will become available that are many times larger than those in present-day cameras. To accommodate next-generation, large-format cameras and enable large-scale galaxy and molecular cloud surveys, the optical design is optimized for a wide field of view.  The baseline telescope builds on a crossed-Dragone optical design proposed by Cornell professor Mike Niemack [1] and a novel azimuth-elevation mount proposed by Project Engineer Steve Parshley [2]. The optical design will focus the incoming light, with high throughput, over a flat focal area capable of accommodating > 105 detectors.  Multiple instruments will be supported and observations will be fully remote control.  The mirror surfaces (all passive) will be made of machined aluminum tiles on a thermally stable support structure.

[1] M. Niemack, Applied Optics, 2016, 55(7), pp1688-1696.
[2] Conceptual Design by S. Parshley, 2016

            Rendition of the CCAT-prime telescope
            Credit: Vertex Antennentechnik GmbH
            Animated rendition of CCAT-p concept
               Credit: S. Parshley, CCAT Project



Aperture: 6 meter diameter
Wavelength: 200 – 3,100 µm
Field of view: ~7.8° at  λ=3.1 mm
Half wavefront error: ≤ 10.7 µm rms with a goal of < 7 µm rms
Blind pointing:  ≤ 6.9" rms with a goal of < 4.6” rms
Offset pointing:  ≤ 2.7" rms with a goal of 1.8” rms
Scan pointing knowledge: < 1.4" rms  with a goal of <0.9"
Pointing stability: < 1.4" rms  with a  goal of <0.9" rms
Total blockage in optical path:  <  1.5% with a goal of 0%