About us

CATA is funded by the Chilean National Agency for Research and Development (ANID) and comprises 5 Universities. Universidad de Chile is the host institution, and: UC, UDEC, UDP, and UNAB are the associated institutions.

Center of Excellence in Astrophysics and Related Technologies CATA

The Center for Excellence in Astrophysics and Associated Technologies CATA is a scientific and technological entity dedicated to frontier research in astronomy and its related technologies. It is also the most extensive scientific effort in this discipline, led by Chilean astronomers. 

CATA is a multidisciplinary group of professionals working in. seven scientific research areas: Cosmology and Galaxy Formation, Supermassive Black Holes and Energetic Phenomena, Galaxies, Stellar Populations, Star and Planet Formation, Exoplanets and Astrobiology, and Theoretical Astrophysics. In addition, the Center has an astronomical instrumentation area, a technology transfer office, a computing nucleus, and a specialized outreach unit. 

Our center in numbers

Years of experience
Specialty areas
Scientific Publications

The origin of CATA

The new CATA project, which began in November 2021, follows up on the original CATA project that started in April 2008. This renewed initiative maintains much of the spirit of the previous project but with important scientific-technological innovations and a new organizational structure.

This new and refreshed organizational structure will seek to bring agility to scientific and technological management and development, with a view to establishing an even more powerful link for communication, dissemination and transfer of first-rate science to Chile and the world.


The mission of CATA is to promote collaborative research in astrophysics and ensure the best possible usage of  facilities available in Chile. CATA will support the astronomical community working in the country, mainly focused on younger researchers, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students, as well as on the education of the next generation of astronomers. It also contemplates training professional experts in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced astronomical instrumentation, thus contributing to generating innovations in technology and computer science.


Chile has reached maturity in astronomical research while, currently, some of the largest international astronomical observatories are located in the Atacama Desert. In the coming years, this number will increase to over 50% of the installed astronomical capacity globally. We will see the arrival of spectacular projects such as the Vera Rubin of AURA consortium, GMT of the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the EELT of ESO. Thanks to the sum of all of them, Chile will become -indisputably- the astronomy capital of the world. CATA is committed to supporting astronomy research through the Chilean sky, not only as users of these resources but also as an active member in creating and developing related technologies.

Our Objectives

  • Research: Tackle fundamental problems in astrophysics by making the best possible use of the available astronomical resources.
  • Education: Educate and train the new generation of Chilean astrophysicists and engineers, generating highly educated human resources.
  • Technology: Boost the development of high technology in Chile by supporting initiatives of astronomical instrumentation and informatics.
  • Tech Transfer: Connect the technological capabilities and expertise of the Center to the needs of industry and society.
  • Outreach: Share our research and discoveries with the general public, and carry out inclusive educational and outreach activities.