Cherenkov Telescope Array — Czech participation
Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will be the new generation observatory of high-energy gamma-rays. It will allow discovery of large number of new astrophysical sources of gamma rays and determination of their characteristics. The project, which is now in the preparatory phase, has an aggressive scheduling approach with first scientific data planned to be available as early as 2018.
CTA: the next step in exploring the high-energy universe
Unlike the "ordinary" electromagnetic radiation, the very highest-energy gamma rays cannot be directly observed neither from the ground nor from the space -- their flux is so small that it requires a large collecting area, which is not feasible to achieve in space and they do not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere deep enough to be seen on the ground. Instead, indirect methods need to be used, of which the technique if Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACT) is the one best suited for observation with high angular and energetic resolution.
The Cherenkov Telescope Array is a project which brings together scientists from most of the current and past IACT experiments around the world for the first time in one huge effort to extend the boundaries of the field. The project aims to surpass any existing IACT experiment in sensitivity, resolution and energy-range coverage -- to achieve this goal, two unprecedentedly large arrays of telescopes of different sizes will be constructed on carefully chosen sites both in the southern and northern hemispheres, using state-of-the-art technology while imposing strict requirements on performance parameters.
Activities of the Czech group within the CTA Consorcium
The Czech team brings to the Consortium a large volume of experience gathered over years by participation in many high-energy particle physics project, in particular the Pierre Auger Observatory, which is currently the largest cosmic ray detector in the world. The two large fields in which the expertise of the group is particularly valuable in the current preparatory
- optics - design, manufacture, maintenance and measurements of optical systems, in particular large segmented mirrors
- atmospheric monitoring - collection and analysis of data on atmospheric properties using astronomical, satellite and other methods.
These two topics collided during the site search campaign when all the locations considered were equipped by Czech optical devices to monitor cloudiness and background light in situ - the All-Sky Cameras (ASC).
More links on Czech paritcipation in CTA
Czech public TV report on some of the Czech CTA group activities — more here
Our FullSky camera night sky pictures from a CTA candidate site, Farm Aar, Namibia
Getting involved in CTA
Any interested parties from the Czech Republic are cordially invited to contact the Czech CTA group for further information. We can offer help for everyone looking to get involved in the CTA in any way, from institutions aspiring for membership in the Consortium through scientists looking to plan for future use of CTA data in their data to industry representatives offering technological solutions. Moreover, we strongly encourage everyone interested in a job position in ultra-high energy astrophysics to visit the CTA job offer page -- again, various means of support for prospective employees are available.