The Cherenkov Telescope Array Project
The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a new observatory for gamma-ray astronomy at very high energies – between tens of GeV to hundreds of TeV –, with unprecedented sensitivity, energy coverage and angular resolution.
CTA is conceived as an open facility that will serve several science communities including astroparticle physics and astrophysics. Due to the unique features of the project, CTA has been ranked as one of the top priorities in the different roadmaps that highlight the trends of future European Science (ASPERA, ASTRONET, ESFRI). Although born in Europe, the project is now fully international with the participation of more than 600 scientists world-wide.
In the current design, CTA consists of two large arrays of around 50 Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes to detect the faint light flashes generated by gamma-ray induced particle cascades in the upper atmosphere. The arrays will be installed at two sites, both in the Southern and Northern hemispheres, providing full sky coverage; the actual location of the sites will be defined in the near future.
This contribution describes the current status of the project, indicating the challenges involved in this world-wide facility, including (1) scientific aspects of this new window to the Universe and (2) technical issues associated to the design of telescopes and cameras. In the scope of this conference, we will emphasize specific challenges related to software and systems, encompassing the telescope control system, Monte Carlo simulations and data processing and the operational modes of this new facility.
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