The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)

Design picture of CTA

Image credit: DESY/Milde Science Comm./Exozet

The great potential of γ-ray astronomy has been shown by the results of the existing IACTs, but to explore the universe even deeper a larger detection area is needed. CTA will start the next generation of IACTs with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution. The number of telescopes will be around 100 and the sensitivity will be one order of magnitude higher than the best of the current instruments. The large detection area will lead to much higher detection rates and CTA will therefore be able to investigate also transient phenomena. It will cover the energy range from some 10 GeV to beyond 100 TeV photon energy uniformly. The improved angular resolution will make it possible to study the morphology of extended sources. The main scientific goals are to understand the origin of cosmic rays, the nature of particle acceleration, and to search for physics beyond the standard model. Most of the astroparticle questions can only be answered by multi wavelength observations. Thus CTA will make observations together with instruments covering the energy range from radio up to X-rays and low energy γ-rays.

The proposed Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will consist of two arrays, a larger one on the southern hemisphere and a smaller one on the northern hemisphere. Two arrays are needed to be able to observe the whole sky. The one on the southern hemisphere will observe the central region of our galaxy, where many sources with various morphologies can be found. Additionally extragalactic sources can be investigated. The northern array will be dedicated to study AGN as well as cosmological galaxy and star formation and evolution.

The university of Erlangen-Nürnberg is participating in CTA and contributes in software development, hardware tests, mirror measurements and physical simulations.

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