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28th August 2017 : Workshop on Cherenkov Telescope Array – Ireland

Workshop to discuss participation in the Cherenkov Telescope Array project in Ireland.

Funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme

Venue: DIAS, 10 Burlington Road, Dublin 4

Date: Monday August 28, 2017, 10am – 5pm (approx.)

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) (https://www.cta-observatory.org) is a multinational, worldwide project to build a new generation ground-based gamma-ray instrument with an order of magnitude improvement in the sensitivity compared to the current instruments and extension of the accessible energy range to above 100 TeV. There are two sites for CTA, one on La Palma in the Canary Islands, the other in Chile close to the ESO VLT and ELT telescopes.

This workshop will continue the discussion started during the January meeting in Armagh which  focussed on opportunities for scientists across the island of Ireland to engage in the CTA. During that meeting it was decided to establish a CTA-Ireland association. The objectives of this association are to promote participation by Ireland in the CTA Consortium at all levels, scientific, industrial and political, and to engage in public outreach activities in support of CTA. Irish scientists from 6 institutes have already signed an agreement to become members of the CTA-Ireland association.

Currently scientists from Dublin are involved into the scientific simulations needed to define best observational strategy. Scientists from Armagh are working on the provision of the maps of the distribution of molecular clouds for the CTA observatory, needed to interpret the data produced primarily by these telescopes. These efforts could be joined and expanded for full involvement in the CTA project. In particular, the expertise of Irish scientists could be important to address one of the main challenges with CTA – the acquisition and processing of the enormous volumes of data it will produce. CTA will handle up to one hundred telescopes, each producing data in parallel at rates ranging from a few megabytes to several gigabytes per second. Besides the raw data streams, the telescopes will also produce high volume control and engineering data streams. This requires the development of new data management techniques. Our joint efforts could contribute to several key packages to aid the CTA data effort.

Undoubtedly there are other opportunities. For instance, in the exploration of the time domain for high-energy astrophysics and the need for complementary observations at other wavelengths to detect and interpret sources.

The CTA will explore our Universe in depth at very high energies and investigate cosmic nonthermal processes. CTA will serve as an open observatory for a wide astrophysical community, and will be the principal instrument that will provide deep insight into the generation of the most energetic particles in nature.

The CTA Consortium consists of over 1200 members working in 200 institutes from 32 countries. CTA is included in the 2008 roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). It is one of the “Magnificent Seven” of the European strategy for astroparticle physics published by ASPERA, and highly ranked in the “strategic plan for European astronomy” of ASTRONET.

The aim of this workshop is to bring interested scientists together from across Ireland to discuss these opportunities and explore routes for collaboration and further engagement in the CTA. We will have representatives from CTA as well as the CTA-UK consortium present in the meeting to provide a broad perspective on the CTA project and its needs and challenges.


If interested in attending please email Masha Chernyakova (masha.chernyakova@dcu.ie) at DCU. If interested in giving a presentation, for instance related to possible opportunities or relevant expertise that you might be able to contribute to CTA, please let her know.