From European Southern Observatory: “ESO Becomes Shareholder in Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory 7 March 2019”

ESO 50 Large

From European Southern Observatory

7 March 2019

Calum Turner
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6670

Cherenkov Telescope Array rendering

ESO today officially became a shareholder of the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory gGmbH (CTAO). The necessary formal steps were concluded during the meeting of the CTA Council on 7–8 March at ESO’s headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany after ESO participating in the project for some time as an observer. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the next-generation ground-based observatory designed to detect very high energy gamma-rays. When completed, the array will comprise 118 telescopes shared between sites in the northern and southern hemispheres.

ESO already signed an agreement on 19 December 2018 to host the southern site of the CTA in the Atacama desert near the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile. The Paranal site, home of the Very Large Telescope, offers excellent viewing conditions and well-established infrastructure, making it an attractive location for new facilities such as CTA–South. The northern site of the CTA will be based on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

As a shareholder, ESO will be represented at the CTA Council, which shall govern the observatory, joining shareholders from 11 countries and associate members from another two. The current legal entity is the CTAO gGmbH, a German non-profit limited liability company. The participating countries are currently in the process of establishing the CTAO European Research Infrastructure Consortium (CTAO ERIC) which will construct, commission and operate the immense observatory.

The CTA is a huge international project, benefitting from the input of over 1400 scientists and engineers from across five continents. It will be the world’s largest high energy gamma-ray observatory and, with its unique sensitivity at these wavelengths, aims to probe the extreme environments that are the sources of gamma-rays, including pulsars and supernova remnants. It will provide unprecedented insights into the origin and role of relativistic cosmic particles.


The Cherenkov Telescope Array website
ESO’s CTA page
ESO CTA Press Release

See the full article here .


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ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

ESO/HARPS at La Silla

ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun

Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres

ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

ESO Speculoos telescopes four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes at ESO Paranal Observatory 2635 metres 8645 ft above sea level

ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

A novel gamma ray telescope under construction on Mount Hopkins, Arizona. a large project known as the Cherenkov Telescope Array, composed of hundreds of similar telescopes to be situated in the Canary Islands and Chile. The telescope on Mount Hopkins will be fitted with a prototype high-speed camera, assembled at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and capable of taking pictures at a billion frames per second. Credit: Vladimir Vassiliev