The Simons Observatory: Science goals and forecasts

Peter Ade, James Aguirre, Zeeshan Ahmed, Simone Aiola, Aamir Ali, David Alonso, Marcelo A. Alvarez, Kam Arnold, Peter Ashton, Jason Austermann, Humna Awan, Carlo Baccigalupi, Taylor Baildon, Darcy Barron, Nick Battaglia, Richard Battye, Eric Baxter, Andrew Bazarko, James A. Beall, Rachel BeanDominic Beck, Shawn Beckman, Benjamin Beringue, Federico Bianchini, Steven Boada, David Boettger, J. Richard Bond, Julian Borrill, Michael L. Brown, Sarah Marie Bruno, Sean Bryan, Erminia Calabrese, Victoria Calafut, Paolo Calisse, Julien Carron, Anthony Challinor, Grace Chesmore, Yuji Chinone, Jens Chluba, Hsiao Mei Sherry Cho, Steve Choi, Gabriele Coppi, Nicholas F. Cothard, Kevin Coughlin, Devin Crichton, Kevin D. Crowley, Kevin T. Crowley, Ari Cukierman, John M. D'Ewart, Rolando Dünner, Tijmen De Haan, Mark Devlin, Simon Dicker, Joy Didier, Matt Dobbs, Bradley Dober, Cody J. Duell, Shannon Duff, Adri Duivenvoorden, Jo Dunkley, John Dusatko, Josquin Errard, Giulio Fabbian, Stephen Feeney, Simone Ferraro, Pedro Fluxà, Katherine Freese, Josef C. Frisch, Andrei Frolov, George Fuller, Brittany Fuzia, Nicholas Galitzki, Patricio A. Gallardo, Jose Tomas Galvez Ghersi, Jiansong Gao, Eric Gawiser, Martina Gerbino, Vera Gluscevic, Neil Goeckner-Wald, Joseph Golec, Sam Gordon, Megan Gralla, Daniel Green, Arpi Grigorian, John Groh, Chris Groppi, Yilun Guan, Jon E. Gudmundsson, Dongwon Han, Peter Hargrave, Masaya Hasegawa, Matthew Hasselfield, Makoto Hattori, Victor Haynes, Masashi Hazumi, Yizhou He, Erin Healy, Shawn W. Henderson, Carlos Hervias-Caimapo, Charles A. Hill, J. Colin Hill, Gene Hilton, Matt Hilton, Adam D. Hincks, Gary Hinshaw, Renée Hložek, Shirley Ho, Shuay Pwu Patty Ho, Logan Howe, Zhiqi Huang, Johannes Hubmayr, Kevin Huffenberger, John P. Hughes, Anna Ijjas, Margaret Ikape, Kent Irwin, Andrew H. Jaffe, Bhuvnesh Jain, Oliver Jeong, Daisuke Kaneko, Ethan D. Karpel, Nobuhiko Katayama, Brian Keating, Sarah S. Kernasovskiy, Reijo Keskitalo, Theodore Kisner, Kenji Kiuchi, Jeff Klein, Kenda Knowles, Brian Koopman, Arthur Kosowsky, Nicoletta Krachmalnicoff, Stephen E. Kuenstner, Chao Lin Kuo, Akito Kusaka, Jacob Lashner, Adrian Lee, Eunseong Lee, David Leon, Jason S.Y. Leung, Antony Lewis, Yaqiong Li, Zack Li, Michele Limon, Eric Linder, Carlos Lopez-Caraballo, Thibaut Louis, Lindsay Lowry, Marius Lungu, Mathew Madhavacheril, Daisy Mak, Felipe Maldonado, Hamdi Mani, Ben Mates, Frederick Matsuda, Loïc Maurin, Phil Mauskopf, Andrew May, Nialh McCallum, Chris McKenney, Jeff McMahon, P. Daniel Meerburg, Joel Meyers, Amber Miller, Mark Mirmelstein, Kavilan Moodley, Moritz Munchmeyer, Charles Munson, Sigurd Naess, Federico Nati, Martin Navaroli, Laura Newburgh, Ho Nam Nguyen, Michael Niemack, Haruki Nishino, John Orlowski-Scherer, Lyman Page, Bruce Partridge, Julien Peloton, Francesca Perrotta, Lucio Piccirillo, Giampaolo Pisano, Davide Poletti, Roberto Puddu, Giuseppe Puglisi, Chris Raum, Christian L. Reichardt, Mathieu Remazeilles, Yoel Rephaeli, Dominik Riechers, Felipe Rojas, Anirban Roy, Sharon Sadeh, Yuki Sakurai, Maria Salatino, Mayuri Sathyanarayana Rao, Emmanuel Schaan, Marcel Schmittfull, Neelima Sehgal, Joseph Seibert, Uros Seljak, Blake Sherwin, Meir Shimon, Carlos Sierra, Jonathan Sievers, Precious Sikhosana, Maximiliano Silva-Feaver, Sara M. Simon, Adrian Sinclair, Praween Siritanasak, Kendrick Smith, Stephen R. Smith, David Spergel, Suzanne T. Staggs, George Stein, Jason R. Stevens, Radek Stompor, Aritoki Suzuki, Osamu Tajima, Satoru Takakura, Grant Teply, Daniel B. Thomas, Ben Thorne, Robert Thornton, Hy Trac, Calvin Tsai, Carole Tucker, Joel Ullom, Sunny Vagnozzi, Alexander Van Engelen, Jeff Van Lanen, Daniel D.Van Winkle, Eve M. Vavagiakis, Clara Vergès, Michael Vissers, Kasey Wagoner, Samantha Walker, Jon Ward, Ben Westbrook, Nathan Whitehorn, Jason Williams, Joel Williams, Edward J. Wollack, Zhilei Xu, Byeonghee Yu, Cyndia Yu, Fernando Zago, Hezi Zhang, Ningfeng Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

576 Citations (Scopus)


The Simons Observatory (SO) is a new cosmic microwave background experiment being built on Cerro Toco in Chile, due to begin observations in the early 2020s. We describe the scientific goals of the experiment, motivate the design, and forecast its performance. SO will measure the temperature and polarization anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background in six frequency bands centered at: 27, 39, 93, 145, 225 and 280 GHz. The initial configuration of SO will have three small-aperture 0.5-m telescopes and one large-aperture 6-m telescope, with a total of 60,000 cryogenic bolometers. Our key science goals are to characterize the primordial perturbations, measure the number of relativistic species and the mass of neutrinos, test for deviations from a cosmological constant, improve our understanding of galaxy evolution, and constrain the duration of reionization. The small aperture telescopes will target the largest angular scales observable from Chile, mapping 10% of the sky to a white noise level of 2 μK-arcmin in combined 93 and 145 GHz bands, to measure the primordial tensor-to-scalar ratio, r, at a target level of σ(r)=0.003. The large aperture telescope will map 40% of the sky at arcminute angular resolution to an expected white noise level of 6 μK-arcmin in combined 93 and 145 GHz bands, overlapping with the majority of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope sky region and partially with the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument. With up to an order of magnitude lower polarization noise than maps from the Planck satellite, the high-resolution sky maps will constrain cosmological parameters derived from the damping tail, gravitational lensing of the microwave background, the primordial bispectrum, and the thermal and kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effects, and will aid in delensing the large-angle polarization signal to measure the tensor-to-scalar ratio. The survey will also provide a legacy catalog of 16,000 galaxy clusters and more than 20,000 extragalactic sources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a grant from the Simons Foundation (Award #457687, B.K.). DA aknowledges support from the Beecroft trust and from STFC through an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship, grant reference ST/P004474/1. CB, NK, FP, DP acknowledge support from the COSMOS Network ( from the Italian Space Agency (ASI), from the RADIOFOREGROUNDS project, funded by the European Commission's H2020 Research Infrastructures under the Grant Agreement 687312, and from the INDARK initiative from the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). DB thanks support from grant ALMA-CONICYT 31140004. EC is supported by a STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship ST/M004856/2. AC acknowledges support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (grant number ST/N000927/1). JC is supported by the Royal Society as a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK. DC acknowledges the-nancial assistance of the South African SKA Project (SKA SA). Canadian co-authors acknowledge support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. JE and RSt acknowledge support from French National Research Agency (ANR) through project BxB no. ANR-17-CE31-0022. GF acknowledges the support of the CNES postdoctoral fellowship. AD, KF, MG, JEG, and SV acknowledge support by the Vetenskapsradet (Swedish Research Council) through contract No. 638-2013-8993 and the Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics at Stockholm University. Further we acknowledge support from DoE grant DE-SC007859 and the LCTP at the University of Michigan. VG gratefully acknowledges the support of the Eric Schmidt Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study. JCH is supported by the Friends of the Institute for Advanced Study. MHi acknowledges support from the NRF and SKA-SA. The Dunlap Institute is funded through an endowment established by the David Dunlap family and the University of Toronto. The authors at the University of Toronto acknowledge that the land on which the University of Toronto is built is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. They are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on this territory. KH acknowledges support from NASA grant ATP-NNX17AF87G. We acknowledge support from the JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP16K21744, JP17H06134, and JP17K14272. AK and KK acknowledges the support by JSPS Leading Initiative for Excellent Young Researchers (LEADER). CL, RP and RD thanks CONICYT for grants Anillo ACT-1417 and QUIMAL-160009. NK acknowledges that this work was supported by MEXT KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP17H01125, JSPS Core-to-Core Program and World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), MEXT, Japan. AL, JC, JP and MM acknowledge support from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. [616170]. FM acknowledges the support of the JSPS fellowship (Grant number JP17F17025). LM thanks support from CONICYT, FONDECYT 3170846. PDM acknowledges support from the Senior Kavli Institute Fellowships at the University of Cambridge and from the Netherlands organization for scienti-c research (NWO) VIDI grant (dossier 639.042.730). MDN acknowledges support from NSF grants AST-1454881 and AST-1517049. FB and CR acknowledge support from the Australian Research Council through FT150100074 and the University of Melbourne. MR was supported by the ERC Consolidator Grant CMBSPEC (No. 725456). MS acknowledges support from the Je-Bezos Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study. NS acknowledges support from NSF grant number 1513618. BDS acknowledges support from an Isaac Newton Trust Early Career Grant and an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship. ST acknowledges the support of the JSPS fellowship (Grant number JP18J02133). In Japan, this work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP17H06134. BT acknowledges the support of an STFC studentship. AvE was supported by the Beatrice and Vincent Tremaine Fellowship at CITA. Some of the results in this paper have been derived using the HEALPix [124] package. We thank members of the CMB-S4 collaboration for useful discussions and interactions that have helped inform the SO design.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab.

Other keywords

  • CMBR experiments
  • CMBR polarisation
  • Cosmological parameters from CMBR


Dive into the research topics of 'The Simons Observatory: Science goals and forecasts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this