Building on the technology of current generation ground-based gamma-ray detectors (H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS), CTA will be ten times more sensitive and have unprecedented accuracy in its detection of high-energy gamma rays. Current gamma-ray telescope arrays host up to five individual telescopes, but CTA is designed to detect gamma rays over a larger area and a wider range of views with more than 100 telescopes located in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Together, the northern and southern CTA arrays will constitute the CTA Observatory (CTAO), which will be the first ground-based gamma-ray observatory open to the worldwide astronomical and particle physics communities as a resource for data from unique, high-energy astronomical observations.
- CTA will be the largest ground-based gamma-ray detection observatory in the world, with more than 100 telescopes in the northern and southern hemispheres
- CTA will look at the sky at higher energy resolution than ever measured before
- CTA will have unprecedented accuracy and will be 10 times more sensitive than existing instruments.
- The naturally occurring cosmic particle accelerators CTA will probe can reach energies much higher than man-made accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider
- CTA will have a broad energy coverage from billions to trillions the energy of visible light
- CTA will have a large collection area and a gamma-ray detection rate 10 times that of current instruments
- CTA will have a large field of view, giving it access to almost all of the night sky
- The Observatory is expected to generate approximately 100 petabytes (PB) in the first five years of operation (1 PB = 1 million GB)
- CTA was included in the 2008 roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and promoted to a Landmark project in 2018. 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” (leaflet) of ASTRONET. In addition CTA is a recommended project for the next decade in the US National Academies of Sciences Decadal Review.