MAGIC – Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescope

With a reflector diameter of 17 meters each, the two MAGIC telescopes are the most sensitive Cherenkov telescopes in the world, especially in the energy range below 200 gigaelectronvolts (GeV). Their line of sight is directed at objects that emit gamma rays ranging from 30 GeV to 100 TeV (teraelectronvolts). This means that MAGIC can cover an enormous energy spectrum.

The twin telescopes are located 2,200 meters above sea level on the Canary Island of La Palma where the clear skies and lack of light pollution make for optimal observing conditions. The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) leads the international collaboration of about 165 astrophysicists from 24 research institutions in eleven countries. Together, they are responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the telescopes. MAGIC allows astrophysicists to obtain first class data for gaining scientific insights into enigmatic objects and the most violent processes in the universe.

The MAGIC telescopes have been in operation since 2003 and 2009 respectively. The MPP played a major role in the development and construction of their mechanical structure, imaging cameras and calibration system.

Since the outset, MAGIC has delivered many valuable scientific discoveries.

MAGIC at the MPP

20 years of MAGIC: The twin telescope on the island of La Palma (Photo: Chiara Righi/MAGIC Collaboration)

20 MAGIC years of gamma-ray astronomy at MPP

In 2003, a success story of astrophysics began on La Palma: 20 years ago in October, the first MAGIC telescope was inaugurated on the Canary Island, a huge instrument with a mirror diameter of 17 meters. Five years later, the twin MAGIC II telescope…

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The two MAGIC telescopes on La Palma (Photo:Urs Leutenegger/Night Photography)

Telescopes search for dark matter

The MAGIC telescopes on La Palma are on the hunt for dark matter. For 233 observational hours, their cameras were pointed at the center of the Milky Way, our home galaxy. Scientists suspect a particularly large accumulation of non-luminous, invisible…

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Julia Summerer attaches a photomultiplier to the holder. (Photo: Felix Schmuckermaier/MPP)

Summer internship at the MPP

Julia Summerer has just graduated from high school. She is currently doing an internship at the Max Planck Institute for Physics, more precisely with the "MAGIC" working group. The scientists in this group are working on two large telescopes of an…

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The binary star system RS Ophiuchi: Matter flows from the red giant onto the white dwarf. The newly added stellar envelopes explode in a bright nova about every 15 years. (Artwork:

MAGIC telescopes observe nova explosion

Nova outbursts are apparently a source for cosmic rays

The MAGIC telescopes have observed the nova RS Ophiuchi shining brightly in gamma rays at extremely high energy. The Gamma rays emanate from protons that are accelerated to very high energies in the shock front following the explosion. This suggests…

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Observation of the black hole in M87: The MAGIC telescopes provided important data in the highest range of the gamma-ray spectrum (Photo: R. Wagner/MAGIC Collaboration)

Many eyes see more: Black hole under observation

Messier M87 is 55 million light years away from Earth. As is the case for probably all galaxies, there is a huge black hole in its center. In 2017, a host of telescopes observed the object over the entire energy spectrum. The spectacular result of…

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The MAGIC telescope system at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain (Photo: G. Ceribella/MAGIC Collaboration)

Cosmic cataclysm allows precise test of General Relativity

In 2019, the MAGIC telescopes detected the first Gamma Ray Burst at very high energies. This was the most intense gamma-radiation ever obtained from such a cosmic object. But the GRB data have more to offer: with further analyses, the MAGIC…

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 Artistic view of a gamma-ray burst with jet

Gamma-ray burst with ultra power

MAGIC telescopes observes most violent gamma-ray burst to date

The gamma-ray burst recorded by the two MAGIC telescopes on 14 January 2019 was spectacular: Never before have astrophysicists captured a gamma-ray burst with such high energy – hundreds of billions times more intense than that of visible light.…

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The MAGIC telescopes in the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on the Canary island of La Palma

MAGIC telescopes trace origin of a rare cosmic neutrino

For the first time, astrophysicists have localized the source of a high energy cosmic neutrino originating outside the Milky Way. It is highly likely that the neutrino comes from a blazar, an active black hole at the center of a distant galaxy in the…

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The MAGIC telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on the canary island La Palma (Photo: T. Dettlaff/MPP)

MAGIC telescopes: 15 years of fascinating gamma astronomy

15 years ago, the first MAGIC telescope was inaugurated on La Palma in the Canary Islands. In 2009, it was followed by a second telescope of a similar type. Both instruments study cosmic objects that emit high-energy gamma rays, such as supernovae or…

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The supernova remains Cassiopeia A generates too little energy for it to come into question as an accelerator for cosmic radiation. (Image: NASA/CXC/SAO)

Cassiopeia A: Possible energy supplier for cosmic radiation shows signs of weakness

What gives the particles of cosmic radiation, which permeate the universe, their high energy? It is suspected that supernova remains might act as naturally occurring particle accelerators. Cassiopeia A is one of a handful of such objects in our…

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name function e-mail extension office
Arbet-Engels, Axel, Dr. Postdoc aarbet 289 A.2.38
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Pirola, Giorgio PhD Student gpirola 259 A.2.44
Scherpenberg, Juliane van PhD Student jvsch 421 A.2.46
Schmuckermaier, Felix PhD Student fschmuck 485 A.2.46
Schweizer, Thomas, Dr. Senior Scientist tschweiz 291 A.2.32
Strom, Derek, Dr. Engineering dstrom 422 B.2.11
Teshima, Masahiro, Dr. Director mteshima 301 A.2.41
Wang, Yunhe Student yunhe 312 A.2.52
Werner, Diana Secretary dwerner 364 A.2.43
Will, Martin, Dr. Postdoc mwill 291 A.1.61

Detection of very high energy gamma-ray emission from the gravitationally-lensed blazar QSO B0218+357 with the MAGIC telescopes
MAGIC Collaboration

Teraelectronvolt pulsed emission from the Crab Pulsar detected by MAGIC
MAGIC Collaboration
Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 585 (January 2016)

Very high Energy γ-Ray from the universe’s middle age: Detection of the z = 0.940 Blazar PKS 1441+25 with MAGIC
Magic Collaboration
The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 815:L23 (8pp), 2015 December 20