$40 million to establish early-universe observatory in Chile

Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley Researchers Will Participate in Project

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Simons Foundation has given $38.4 million to establish a new astronomy facility in Chile's Atacama Desert, adding new telescopes and detectors alongside existing instruments in order to boost ongoing studies of the evolution of the universe, from its earliest moments to today. The Heising-Simons Foundation is providing an additional $1.7 million for the project.

The Simons Observatory is a collaboration among the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab); UC Berkeley; Princeton University; the University of California at San Diego; and University of Pennsylvania, all of which are also providing financial support.

The observatory will probe the subtle properties of the universe's first light, known as cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. The observatory will pay particular attention to the polarization, or directional information, in the CMB light to better understand what took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.

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Robert Sanders
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