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Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a new observatory for very high-energy (VHE) cosmic gamma rays. CTA combines the experience of past and currently operating Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope (IACT) projects like H.E.S.S., MAGIC, VERITAS, and others and the combined expertise of those groups into a truly international consortium. The CTA Consortium with more than 1300 scientists is the driving force behind the CTA design, its science concepts, and the founding of the CTA Observatory as the organization to implement and operate CTA. The Max Planck Society in general and the MPIK in particular have been among the key contributors to the CTA concept.

In order to be able to observe the whole sky in the energy range from about 20 GeV to 300 TeV, the CTA Observatory will have two sites, one in the Northern hemisphere (on La Palma, Canary Islands) and one in the Southern hemisphere (near the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile). For covering the immense energy range in a cost-efficient way, the CTA concept has foreseen multiple telescope types from the beginning: a few large-size (24 m diameter and expensive) telescopes to cover the lowest energies, many more medium-size (12 m) telescopes for the core of the energy range, and (for the CTA-South site only) even more small-size (4 m) telescopes for the highest energies.

Apart from its role in setting up the CTA concepts, the MPIK is currently involved in several areas of CTA, including the development and testing of two cameras, FlashCam for the medium-size telescopes and CHEC for the small-size telescopes, the simulation software (CORSIKA, sim_telarray), and contributions to CTA science prospects, like the Key Science Program.