The Simons Observatory (SO) is an $109 million dollar project supported by the Simons Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and member organizations, dedicated to understanding how the universe originated and evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. The SO project began in 2016 and is constructing and deploying four special-purpose telescopes, a high-altitude site, and cryogenic detectors. The SO will collect a comprehensive range of data spanning angular scales from one arcminute to nearly 70% of the sky visible from its site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude of 5200 meters (17,200 feet) above sea level.
SO is a team of over 40 institutions world-wide with over 300 participating members, representing scientific/academic/educational personnel, engineers, managers, and other talented team members. Upon completion, SO will be the largest, most ambitious observatory of its kind designed to probe the birth and evolution of the entire universe.
The project office located at UC San Diego is responsible for the construction and operation of the SO. The SO is currently completing its civil construction phase and is installing the telescope systems in 2022 with first science in 2023.