Scope Diagram Astrocamera.Net - Astrophotography by Dave Kodama

Visit to Simons Array / Complex
7 July 2019

This trip required a drive from San Pedro de Atacama at about 8000 ft. to the observatory complex (~5200 meters / 17,100 ft.) on the side of Cerro Toco volcano. From there, the ALMA array is visible. The ALMA array (~5000 meters / 16,400 ft.) is not accessible as it lies at the end of a restricted private road. In contrast, the Simons observatory is part of an astronomical complex off a public (unpaved) road which leads to the trailhead to Cerro Toco.

These observatories are located in the extreme northern part of Chile, near the Bolivian border. This is far from the other optical observatories you might normally hear about (La Silla, Las Campanas, etc.). These observatories are also much higher up in altitude to avoid much of the water-vapor absorption of millimeter and sub-millimeter bands being studied.

Simons Array and Observatory
The largest structure in the shot is the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT).
Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)
Simons Array and Observatory by moonlight, Viewpoint 1
(360x180° panorama*)
Simons Array and Observatory by moonlight, Viewpoint 2
(360x180° panorama*)

* Use your mouse to pan around and your scroll wheel to zoom in and out. Within the panorama, at upper right, you'll find an icon to click on to expand the view to fill the screen.