The Cosmic Background Imager (CBI) is an instrument designed to make images of the cosmic microwave background radiation and to measure its statistical properties on angular scales from about 3 arc minutes to one degree (spherical harmonic scales from l ˜ 4250 down to l ˜ 400). The CBI is a 13-element interferometer mounted on a 6 meter platform operating in ten 1-GHz frequency bands from 26 GHz to 36 GHz. The instantaneous field of view of the instrument is 45 arcmin (FWHM) and its resolution ranges from 3 to 10 arcmin; larger fields can be imaged by mosaicing. At this frequency and resolution, the primary foreground is due to discrete extragalactic sources, which are monitored at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory and subtracted from the CBI visibility measurements.
The instrument has been making observations since late 1999 of both primordial CMB fluctuations and the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect in clusters of galaxies from its site at an altitude of 5080 meters near San Pedro de Atacama, in northern Chile. Observations will continue until August 2001 or later. We present preliminary results from the first few months of observations.