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CTA – Cherenkov Telescope Array

Concept of the Cherenkov Telescope Array with large 23-meter and medium 12-meter telescopes
Concept of the Cherenkov Telescope Array with large 23-meter and medium 12-meter telescopes (Image: G. Pérez/IAC, SMM)

Gamma rays give astrophysicists a completely different perspective on celestial objects than, say, optical light, infrared radiation or radio waves. They provide information on high-energy processes in the universe, such as black holes and supernova remnants.

A new observatory is being built to expand the options for observing gamma rays: The planned Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) consists of 120 individual telescopes that detect different gamma ray ranges, covering a wide energy spectrum. This will make it possible to capture even more details from fascinating celestial objects.
The observatory is being constructed at two locations, in the northern and southern hemispheres, so that the whole night sky is covered. There will be about 20 telescopes arranged near MAGIC on La Palma, and another 100 telescopes at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, operated by ESO.

The project is the responsibility of an international collaboration consisting of some 800 scientists and engineers around the world. The MPP has a leading role in the construction of the large-size telescope (LST) with a mirror diameter of 23 meters.

The LST records low-energy gamma rays in the range of 20 to 200 gigaelectronvolts. This will be used to study black holes at the center of far distant galaxies, as well as binary star systems and pulsars.

The smaller telescopes of 12 and 8 meters in diameter will capture higher-energy gamma rays.

First prototype on La Palma

The Max Planck Institute for Physics is involved in the construction of the large-size telescopes for the CTA project. The first prototype of an LST is currently being built on La Palma – right beside the two MAGIC telescopes. Six research institutions from five countries have come together for this project. The MPP is responsible for the substructure, the mechanical configuration, the rail system and parts of the camera mounting. The first LST is due for completion in 2017.

Information on the CTA group



After only a few months construction time, the CTA project reached an important milestone: Last week, the mirror mountings were installed on the first Large-Sized Telescope (LST) of the CTA observatory. The LST (Large-Sized Telescope) is the largest model of the about 100 telescopes to be built in...

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On September 19, 2016, the Council of the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO) concluded negotiations with the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) to host CTA’s northern hemisphere array at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Spain.

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On October 9th, 2015 the ceremony of the stone laying for the biggest Cherenkov telescope in the northern hemisphere, the prototype of the LST (Large Size Telescope) with a diameter of 23 meters, took place at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma. The LST will be one of...

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The CTA cooperation decided on the future sites of the Cherenkov Telescope Array: The telescopes will be located at the Paranal Observatory of ESO (European Southern Observatory) in Chile and on La Palma, Spain. There the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) runs the Roque de los Muchachos...

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Group members

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Green, David

Scientist 289

Mazin, Daniel

Scientist 255

Schweizer, Thomas, Dr.

Scientist 227

Strom, Derek

Scientist 422

Vovk, Ievgen, Dr.

Scientist 255

Will, Martin, Dr.

Scientist 291

Key publications

Search response: 5 publications match your query. Listing starts with latest publication first: (1 - 3)

MPP-2014-841 The large size telescope of the Cherenkov Telescope Array , G. Ambrosi et al, The CTA-LST collaboration, (External full text link).
[CTA], [Conference-Paper]

MPP-2013-425 Introducing the CTA concept, The CTA collaboration, Astropart.Phys. 43 (2013) 3-18, (External full text link).
[CTA], [Article]

MPP-2013-98 Potential of EBL and cosmology studies with the Cherenkov Telescope Array, Daniel Mazin, Martin Raue, Bagmeet Behera, Susumu Inoue, et al., Astropart.Phys. 43 (2013) 241-251 (2013-03), (External full text link).
[CTA], [Article]

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