Cherenkov Telescope Array

Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)
Responsible scientist
García López
Owner institution

    CTA’s northern hemisphere site is located on the existing site of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias’ (IAC’s) Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos in Villa de Garafia on the island of La Palma, the fifth largest island in the Canary Islands. At 2,200 metres in altitude and nestled on a plateau below the rim of an extinct volcanic crater, the site currently hosts an operating gamma-ray observatory, the Major Atmospheric Gamma Ray Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) telescopes, as well as a wide variety of optical telescopes of various sizes.


    17x12, 8x6m

    The project is well advanced – working prototypes exist or are under construction for all the telescope designs and significant site characterization has been undertaken. CTA will build on the technology of current ground-based detectors, utilizing three classes of telescopes to cover CTA’s energy range. Construction is expected to begin in 2019

    While the southern hemisphere array will span the entire energy range of CTA, covering gamma-ray energies from 20 GeV to more than 300 TeV, the northern hemisphere array will be more limited in size and will focus on the low- and mid-energy ranges from 20 GeV to 20 TeV. For this reason, the northern hemisphere site will not host any Small-Sized Telescopes, which are tuned to capture the highest-energy gamma rays. The threshold configuration plan is for the site to host 4 Large-Sized Telescopes to capture the low-energy sensitivity of CTA and 5 Medium-Sized Telescopes to cover CTA’s core energy range. A further enhancement to the alfa configuration, pending on the approval of the necessary budget, would add other 4 Medium-Sized Telescopes to the array.


    Related Projects

    • Nuestros Alumnos y el ORM
      Nuestros Alumnos y el ORM
      The LPIYA Group gathers communicators and representatives from every institution present at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM), with the objective of organising and coordinating public outreach activities related to the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and Beyond, mainly on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands
      Juan Carlos
      Pérez Arencibia
    • CTAO 3D simulation. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz (IAC)
      IACTEC Large Telescopes: Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory - CTAO
      The CTAO is an initiative which is planning the construction of a new generation of Cherenkov Telescopes to study the universe in very high energy gamma-rays. Gamma-rays carry information about the most violent and extreme events in the universe.
      García López
    • Project Image
      Particle Astrophysics
      The MAGIC Collaboration is integrated by 20 research institutes and university departments from Armenia, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and USA. The collaboration comprises two 17m diameter telescopes, located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, designed to measure the Cherenkov radiation associated with
      García López

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