Welcome to CTA-UK

CTA: An observatory for the highest energies

The CTA project is an international initiative to build the next generation ground-based very high energy gamma-ray observatory. It will serve as an open observatory to a wide astrophysics community and will provide a deep insight into the non-thermal high- energy universe. The CTA-UK group is formed from the Universities of Liverpool, Leicester, Durham, Edinburgh, Southampton, Nottingham and Oxford, Liverpool John Moores University and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories.


The Extreme Science of CTA
CTA is designed to look for gamma-rays, the most energetic form of light. As such CTA will be used to study the most extreme and violent events in the Universe, from exploding stars, to black holes and rapidly rotating stars composed entirely of neutrons. CTA has the potential to detect gamma-radiation from an as yet undetected form of matter known as dark matter, believed to make up around 20% of the total mass in the Universe and CTA may give us the first hint that the speed of light isn't as constant as Einstein thought.

 

Technology at the Highest Energies
To obtain the desired sensitivity above 1 TeV, CTA must cover a large area on the ground with Small Size Telescopes (SSTs). One option for the design of the SSTs utilises 2 reflectors, with a primary diameter of ~4 m. These telescopes require cost-effective cameras that record single photons with nano-second time resolution and read out hundreds of images a second. The Compact High Energy Camera (CHEC) is such a camera. Two prototypes are underway to establish the suitability of different photosensor technology.