Name: Cherenkov Telescope Array – participation of the Czech Republic

Institution: Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Coordinator:Michael Prouza, Ph.D.; prouza@fzu.cz


CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) is an international RI dedicated to astroparticle physics, which will enable the discovery of a large number of new astrophysical sources of gamma radiation and the study of their properties. The scientific community of the Czech Republic plays an important role in the preparation of CTA, in particular through the development of optical components and the construction of devices for the characterisation of the atmosphere. The Joint Laboratory of Optics of Palacký University Olomouc and the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences is where the manufacturing and prototype testing of mirrors and optical samples takes place. Czech opticians are developing technologies for the production of optical systems, such as positioning the cameras and long-lived mirror surfaces used, e.g., in CTA LST (Large Size Telescope) and MST (Middle Size Telescope). Throughout the process, they apply the experience they gained at the Pierre Auger Observatory. Moreover, two telescope prototypes of SST-1M (Small Size Telescope) originally developed for CTA are now installed at the Ondřejov Observatory, Czechia. Regarding the monitoring of the atmosphere above the future observatory, CTA-CZ has commissioned a complex of all-sky cameras used to determine the cloudiness of the sky in real time during observations. For a detailed analysis of atmospheric conditions, CTA-CZ has further developed the autonomous robotic FRAM telescopes. The uniqueness of the FRAM telescopes lies in their non-invasive measurement method without any interference with the observations of the main telescopes during FRAM operation. Two FRAM devices are already in operation on the site of the future southern part of the CTA observatory in Chile close to the experimental apparatuses of ESO (European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere). A further FRAM device is installed at the site of the future northern part of CTA at La Palma within the Canary Islands archipelago, Spain. The atmospheric monitoring activities are a continuation of previous work regarding the search for optimal locations of CTA sites. CTA-CZ significantly contributed through the development of all-sky cameras and new methods for analysing satellite images. CTA is collaborating with other international RIs such as SKA (Square Kilometer Array) and it is in the final phases to establish an ERIC.