H.E.S.S.: The High Energy Stereoscopic System

The H.E.S.S. (“High Energy Stereoscopic System”) array is an Imaging Air Cherenkov Telescope (IACT) system for ground-based gamma-ray astronomy in the energy regime above a few tens of GeV. The experiment is located in the Khomas highland of Namibia known for its good optical quality and optimal observation conditions of the inner part of our Galaxy. The instrument allows to detect gamma-ray sources with an intensity at the level of 1/1000th of the flux of the Crab nebula, the standard candle in ground-based gamma-ray astronomy.

The H.E.S.S. telescope array

The H.E.S.S. telescope array with the new H.E.S.S. II telescope in the center. Image Credit: Clementina Medina/Irfu-CEA.

The H.E.S.S. experiment was operated since the end of 2003 in a four-telescope configuration, and has opened a new window to the cosmos documented in the discovery a large variety of both Galactic and extragalactic gamma-ray sources.

In summer 2012, the new H.E.S.S. II telescope went online. Dedicated to observing the most violent and extreme phenomena of the Universe in very high energy gamma-rays, H.E.S.S. II is the largest Cherenkov telescope ever built, with its 28-meter-sized mirror. Together with the four smaller (12 meter) telescopes the H.E.S.S. will continue to define the forefront of ground-based gamma ray astronomy and will allow deeper understanding of known high-energy cosmic sources such as supermassive black holes, pulsars and supernovae, and the search for new classes of high-energy cosmic sources.

For more information on H.E.S.S., see the project web pages, the H.E.S.S. source of the month archive for a selection of recent discoveries, and follow H.E.S.S. on Twitter.

H.E.S.S. at ECAP

People at ECAP are working on the study of Galactic gamma-ray sources, with special emphasis on the search for the accelerators of cosmic rays and the indirect search for Dark Matter. The group takes part in developing the H.S.S.S. data analysis framework, and is responsible for the pointing, i.e. the precise alignment of the telescopes towards the investigated gamma-ray source.

We are always looking for enthusiastic people to join our team. If you are interested in doing a Bacholor or Master thesis with us, please have a look at ECAP's thesis topics page or contact one of us directly.

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