The SPECULOOS Southern Observatory (SSO), a new facility of four 1- metre robotic telescopes, began scientific operations at Cerro Paranal on 1 January 2019. The main goal of the SPECULOOS project is to explore approximately 1000 of the smallest (≤ 0.15 R☉), brightest (Kmag ≤ 12.5), and nearest (d ≤ 40 pc) very low mass stars and brown dwarfs. It aims to discover transiting temperate terrestrial planets well-suited for detailed atmospheric characterisation with future giant telescopes like ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) and the NASA James Webb Telescope (JWST). The SSO is the core facility of SPECULOOS. The exquisite astronomical conditions at Cerro Paranal will enable SPECULOOS to detect exoplanets as small as Mars. Here, we briefly describe SPECULOOS, and present the features and performance of the SSO facility.