Cherenkov Telescope Array

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Logo of the CTA project
Prototype of 12 meter CTA telescope under construction; Berlin, Germany, March 2013
Artistic drawing of the CTA site, G Perez, IAC

The Cherenkov Telescope Array or CTA is a multinational, world-wide project to build a new generation ground-based gamma-ray instrument in the energy range extending from some tens of GeV to above 100 TeV. It is proposed as an open observatory and will consist of two arrays of IACTs, a first array at the Northern Hemisphere with emphasis on the study of extragalactic objects at the lowest possible energies, and a second array at the Southern Hemisphere, which is to cover the full energy range and concentrate on galactic sources. The physics program of CTA goes beyond high energy astrophysics into Cosmology and Fundamental Physics.

CTA intends to improve the flux sensitivity of the current generation of IACTs such as MAGIC, HESS, and VERITAS by an order of magnitude. It will foreseeably consist of tens of IACTs of different mirror sizes. Production of the first telescope prototypes will start in 2013. CTA is designed and will be built by an international collaboration of scientists, with a strong involvement of European institutions. The project is on the road-map of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), the European Astroparticle Physics network ASPERA and the European Astrophysics network ASTRONET.

The entire project, with its planned 19-dish array in the Northern Hemisphere and its 99-dish array in the Southern Hemisphere is expected to cost about €200 million (US$ 277 million).[1]


The multinational CTA-Consortium consists of research institutes from 28 countries.

As per April 2014, the CTA Consortium consists of over 1000 scientists working in more than 170 research institutes from 28 countries in 5 continents: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.[2]

Site Selection[edit]

On 10 April 2014 Government representatives met in Munich and decided to start negotiations with the two sites for the planned 99-dish array in the Southern Hemisphere: Aar in Namibia and ESO's ParanalArmazones site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, keeping Leoncito in Argentina as a third option. The Consortium expects to close the site selection by the end of 2014.[3]

For the 19-dish array in the Northern Hemisphere, four sites remain in the running: two in the United States and one each in Mexico and Spain. The selection of this site is not expected to take place in 2014. Astronomers hope to be ready to start construction by the end of 2015 and to begin full operations in around 2020.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Panel homes in on sites for γ-ray detector". Nature - international weekly journal of science. 17 April 2014. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Countries and Institutes in CTA". 17 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "ESO Site Shortlisted for Cherenkov Telescope Array". ESO - European Southern Observatory. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.