Colloquium on 11 March 2014
Very High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy in Namibia – Recent results by H.E.S.S. and the Namibian proposal to host CTA

Details

Title: Very High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy in Namibia – Recent results by H.E.S.S. and the Namibian proposal to host CTA
Speaker: Michael Backes
Date: Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Time: 11:00 - 11:20
Venue: SAAO Auditorium

Abstract

Very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray astronomy, established only in 1989, probes the highest energetic processes and thus the most violent phenomena in the Universe, like active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, pulsar wind nebulae, pulsars, and recently also starburst galaxies.
With ground-based instruments, gamma-rays can only be observed indirectly through their interaction with the Earth’s atmosphere, emitting faint and nanosecond short flashes of Cherenkov light. For detecting those, huge telescopes with tessellated mirrors of up to 30m diameter and kilo-pixel cameras made up of photomultiplier tubes are employed. The High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.), situated in the Khomas Highland in central Namibia is the world-leading Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope (IACT) system, having discovered more than 100 sources of VHE gamma-radiation and with the recently inaugurated H.E.S.S.-II telescope -the fifth telescope of the system- also operating the world’s largest mirror telescope. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the planned next generation instrumentation for VHE gamma-ray astronomy. It will consist of one observatory on each hemisphere and the Southern one will be comprised by more than 130 IACTs with diameters of 6-24m eac h. This international, multi-billion Rand project is currently about to finish the design phase and operations are planned to start in 2018. An introduction to VHE gamma-ray astronomy will be given, recent results obtained with the H.E.S.S. telescopes will be discussed and the concept of CTA as well as the Namibian proposal to host it will outlined.

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Special (Talk 1 of 3)
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