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For other uses, see Veritas (disambiguation).
Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS)
VERITAS array.jpg
VERITAS - array of four telescopes
Organisation VERITAS Collaboration
Location Mount Hopkins, Arizona, USA
at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory
Coordinates 31°40′30.21″N 110°57′07.77″W / 31.6750583°N 110.9521583°W / 31.6750583; -110.9521583
Altitude 1,268 m (4,159 ft)
First light February 1, 2005 (2005-02-01), (first telescope), April 2007 (2007-04) (array)
Telescope style Four Cherenkov Telescopes
Diameter 4 x 12m
Angular resolution 0.1 deg at 1 TeV,
0.14 deg at 200 GeV

VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) is a major ground-based gamma-ray observatory with an array of four 12m optical reflectors for gamma-ray astronomy in the GeV - TeV energy range. VERITAS uses the Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope technique to observe gamma-rays. The telescope design is based on the design of the existing 10m gamma-ray telescope of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory. It consists of an array of imaging telescopes deployed such that they permit the maximum versatility and give the highest sensitivity in the 50 GeV - 50 TeV band (with maximum sensitivity from 100 GeV to 10 TeV). This very high energy observatory, completed in 2007, effectively complements Fermi.


  • Design is based on the Whipple telescope
  • 39 feet aperture
  • 350 mirrors on each dish
  • 499 pixel camera on each telescope
  • Each telescope has 3.5 deg field of view
  • 50 GeV to 50 TeV Energy Range
  • ~17% energy resolution at 1 Tev
  • 0.08 angular resolution at 1 Tev
  • ~70-100 viable hours of observation time per month for 10 months each year


The Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System was built as first next generation IACT in the western hemisphere. It was originally planned as an array of seven telescopes, but only four were constructed in the end. [1] Each telescope was based on the design of the Wipple 10 m telescope but with significant updates to the reflector optics, light collection efficiency, signal chain, and recording electronics. This was perceived as a significant step up from the previous generation of instruments such as Whipple, HEGRA, and CAT. The original VERITAS prototype telescope was installed in April 2003 and saw first light in February of 2004.

More recent updates:

  • January 2007: Completion of 4 telescope array
  • April 27-28 2007: First Light Celebration
  • Summer 2009: Displacement of Telescope 1 to new location for improved sensitivity
  • Summer 2012: Upgrade of cameras PMTs to high-quantum-efficiency PMTs


VERITAS cosmic ray observations further the study of astrophysical objects that emit high-energy cosmic rays, such as:[2]

In October, 2011 the journal Science reported that the Crab Nebula pulsar is emitting gamma rays with energies exceeding 100 billion electron-volts (100 GeV), an observation made at VERITAS.[3]

Mirrors on VERITAS telescope 3


VERITAS is supported by the United States Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in Canada, Science Foundation Ireland and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council in the U.K.

The collaboration is composed of several members and other collaborating institutions.

Member Institutions[edit]


See also[edit]

IACT Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope MAGIC (telescope) High Energy Stereoscopic System


  1. ^ Krennrich, F.; Bond, I. H.; Boyle, P. J.; Bradbury, S. M.; Buckley, J. H.; Carter-Lewis, D.; Celik, O.; Cui, W.; Daniel, M.; d'Vali, M.; de la Calle Perez, I.; Duke, C.; Falcone, A.; Fegan, D. J.; Fegan, S. J.; Finley, J. P.; Fortson, L. F.; Gaidos, J.; Gammell, S.; Gibbs, K.; Gillanders, G. H.; Grube, J.; Hall, J.; Hall, T. A.; Hanna, D.; Hillas, A. M.; Holder, J.; Horan, D.; Jarvis, A. et al. (2004). "VERITAS: The Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System". New Astronomy Reviews 48 (5–6): 345. doi:10.1016/j.newar.2003.12.050.  edit
  2. ^ "VERITAS Homepage". Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Crab Pulsar Dazzles Astronomers with its Gamma-Ray Beams". HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS. Archived from the original on 2012-01-19. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 

External links[edit]