The operation contemplated by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), as an applicant entity, is part of the Spanish participation in the great scientific infrastructure called CTA ("Cherenkov Telescope Array" or Cherenkov Telescope Network). This project, which originated almost a decade ago, is participated by the entire worldwide community of very high energy gamma rays;
Around 1500 scientists and engineers from more than 30 countries and from all continents.
The CTA project is considered with high priority in the European roadmap of large scientific infrastructures ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastrutures), of APPEC (Astroparticle Physics European Coordination), of Astronet (network that brings together the main funding agencies of the astronomy in Europe), as well as in the main countries of the world that investigate gamma ray astronomy. CTA will consist of two observatories, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the south, which will cover the entire sky. It aims to cover a sensitivity and a range of energies in the electromagnetic spectrum (between tens of Giga electronvolts –GeV- and hundreds of Teraelectronvolts –TeV-); an order of magnitude greater than that of the
generation of current telescopes. CTA will allow the scientific-technological potential of this new field of Astrophysics to be fully developed and will open the door to new and unexpected discoveries in Astrophysics, Fundamental Physics and Cosmology.
The North node will be located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, on the island of La Palma, and will consist of a network of 19 telescopes, four of them large (LST; 23 meters in diameter), which are the subject of this request, and 15 of medium size (MST; 12 meters in diameter).
The Spanish scientific community that participates in the CTA project is a very consolidated and world-renowned community, which has been working with pioneer facilities in the field of gamma ray astronomy from the ORM for more than 25 years. This has been the case of experiments such as HEGRA in the past, or the two MAGIC telescopes in the present.
This community is articulated in a consortium of centers called CTA-Spain to which at the time of writing this funding request belong the following groups: IAC (Tenerife), ICC-UB (Barcelona),
ICE-CSIC (Barcelona), IFAE-BIST (Barcelona), CERES-UAB (Barcelona), CIEMAT (Madrid), UCM-ELEC (Madrid), UCM-GAE (Madrid) and UJA (Jaén).
The CTA 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.