The Universe is the greatest gamma-ray generator. While current infrastructure for high-energy measurements has revealed tantalising hints at the mysteries hidden in the cosmic radiation, it has also suggested that we have barely seen the tip of the iceberg. The spectacular Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will provide a new window on the most extreme events in the Universe. The EU-funded CTA-DEV project is moving CTA from design to implementation, addressing the infrastructure construction, governance and outreach.
CTA will be the first ground-based gamma-ray observatory open to the global scientific community. Actual observations will be carried out by operators and the data and analysis tools will then be made available to the principal investigator in common data formats.
With its more than 100 telescopes at 2 sites in the northern and southern hemispheres, in Spain and Chile, and its ability to cover an enormous range in photon energy from 20 gigaelectronvolts to 300 teraelectronvolts (TeV), CTA will significantly enhance performance and potential relative to current instruments.
The scientific potential of CTA is tremendous, seeking new insight into cosmic sources of gamma rays including black holes, supernova remnants, pulsars, binary systems and even elusive dark matter. “We will be able to see gamma-ray sources in greater detail, identify new sources and possibly unveil some of the Universe’s greatest mysteries such as the nature of dark matter. Of course, the most exciting discoveries will be those that are unexpected!” concludes Ferrini.