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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 massive, active black holes in the center of galaxies. The MAGIC collaboration is marking the anniversary with a symposium from 26-29 June 2018. There, scientists will discuss key research findings and current questions.

The MAGIC telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on the canary island La Palma (Photo: IAC)

With a 17-meter mirror diameter the largest gamma-ray telescopes to date, MAGIC went into operation at the “Roque de los Muchachos” observatory on La Palma in 2003. Since 2009, two of these telescopes have been searching the universe for dynamic, high-energy celestial objects. These emit light at very high energies that is invisible to our eyes – gamma rays. With these observations, astrophysicists aim to understand the physical processes in active galactic nuclei in the center of galaxies, for example.

The MAGIC collaboration is celebrating the anniversary with a scientific symposium taking place in La Palma from 27-29 June 2018. There, scientists will discuss past progress and current research issues in the field of gamma-ray astronomy. The focal areas will be cosmic rays, cosmology, neutrinos and gravitational waves.

Around 100 experts from the international MAGIC collaboration, including 24 institutes in 11 countries, will attend the conference. Among these the MPI for Physics played a key role in building the telescope structure and developing the camera technology and calibration system.