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The Cherenkov Telescope Array or CTA is a scientific project that be proposes the construction of a new generation gamma ray detector of very high energy in the range of tens of GeV up to more than 100 TeV. The current proposal includes the construction of two arrays of Cherenkov telescopes, the first in the northern hemisphere, dedicated mainly to the study of extragalactic source at the lowest energy attainable , and a second array in the southern hemisphere, in order to cover the entire range of energies and focus in the study of galactic sources.
Technically speaking, the aim of CTA is to improve the sensibility to the flow of gamma rays a factor of ten times compared to the current generation of Cherenkov telescopes such as MAGIC, HESS and VERITAS. This probably will be formed by tens of telescopes with mirrors of different sizes. In the preliminary design, the observatory be extend in a flat area of 3X3 km2, with the biggest telescopes (with an diameter of approximately 22m) in the centre, surrounded by the medium diameter detectors (12 m.) and finally surrounded by the small diameter detectors (6m.), all dedicated to capture the higher energy photons. The bigger telescopes require a more complicated structure and therefore imply a bigger cost in contrast to the others (especially as these “antennas” must be oriented as quickly as possible when a cherenkov pulse occurs in the sky.
Currently the CTA project has entered in its preparatory phase (design and prototype phase) which is estimated to last approximately 3 years. During this period the collaboration will decide the site where the observatory is going to be built.
Official site: www.cta-observatory.org
Argentina collaboration official site: http://astrum.frm.utn.edu.ar/CTA-Argentina/
The ITeDA group is currently a member of the collaboration of the CTA project and is currently working on the preparatory phase as previously mentioned. Specifically, the institute is working on the design and prototyping of the telescope mirrors, and in the evaluation of the possible sites for the observatory.
The institute began the delicate work of identify candidates sites to emplaced the CTA project in Argentina. For this task a multidisciplinary team of professionals (all linked to the Pierre Auger observatory) was quickly assembled. The requirements often compete with each other, as the need for clear skies requires the presence of depopulated areas and away from sources of contaminations, but it also means worse infraestructure (road, electric and telecommunications).