New enormous Cherenkov telescopes

The  observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos at night. Credit: Daniel Lopez. ASCII   Kolor stitching | 4 pictures | Size: 8667 x 4915 | FOV: 120.27 x 68.20 ~ 24.43 | RMS: 2.75 | Lens: Standard | Projection: Spherical | Color: LDR |
The observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos at night. Click for a larger version. Credit: Daniel Lopez


It’s not quite a done deal, but it looks as though La Palma will be getting another 20 Chrenkov telescopes. The board of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) met on the 15th and 16th of July, and decided that their two preferred sitres are La Palma and Chile (near the Paranal observatory). Negotiations will now start with the site owners, and are expected to take 6 months. Meanwhile, they’ll try to organise the rest of the funding they need. La Palma will get 20 telescopes, and Chile 100 (to look mostly at the Milky Way), comprising 24, 10-12, and 4-6 meter diameters. (The mirrors of the existing MAGIC telescopes are 17 m across.)

If all goes well, the CTA will be ready by the end of the decade. It will be able to look at the most violent phenomena in the universe, up to 10 times more energetic than those observed in the LHC, the largest particle accelerator on Earth, run by CERN. Having telescopes in the northern and southern hemispeheres will allow them to cover the whole sky. Those on Chile will mostly look at the Milky Way, while those on La Palma will mostly look outside it.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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