Written by: Jürgen Knödlseder, Chair, CTA Consortium
For its biannual meeting the CTA Consortium gathered on 21 – 25 October in Bologna, next to the future headquarters of the CTA Observatory (CTAO). More than 200 scientists and engineers from 18 countries met to share the results of their work, to make progress on the implementation plans for the observatory and to discuss the future. The meeting was organised by our colleagues from the CTAO in Bologna and hosted by the CNR conference centre.
Photo credit: Tiziana Abegg, CTAO
Compared to former meetings, more emphasis was put on the parallel sessions where Consortium Working Groups could meet and Consortium members could directly interact with staff from the CTAO to together push the project ahead. The parallel sessions were followed by a plenary session and a meeting of the Consortium Board.
Highlights from the meeting included the excellent progress by the Science Working Groups, with two more Consortium publications coming close to journal submission. The first one investigates the detectability of Galactic PeVatrons with CTA, while the second one studies the science prospects of a CTA survey of the Large Magellanic Cloud. A big step forward was also taken in the identification of the multi-wavelength and multi-messenger needs for CTA science, and efforts of writing White Papers on synergies with the Athena X-ray satellite and the SKA radio observatory are underway. Also the Analysis and Simulations Working Group reported good progress, gearing up for the next large scale Monte Carlo simulation dubbed “Prod5” which will include a detailed model that is based on the measured performances of CTA prototype telescopes and cameras.
The project has also reported important progress during the meeting. The most important message conveyed was the need for a reduction in the construction cost of about 20% to allow for the implementation of the CTA threshold array in the Phase 1 of the project. Good progress was also reported on the setting up of the CTA SST project, and with the organisation of the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the LST, an important milestone was reached.
An important milestone was also reached on Friday, when the Consortium Board met for the first time under the new Consortium Memorandum of Understanding. The Consortium Board adopted transition regulations that define the process of setting up the new Consortium without disturbing the activities of the current Consortium members. The transition period will be concluded by the admission of members to the new Consortium and the election of the chairs of the Consortium Board and the Consortium Spokespersons. In the meantime, the current Consortium Board chair and Spokespersons continue their activities.
The Consortium Board also discussed measures to reduce the environmental footprint of the CTA Consortium and agreed to reduce the number of Consortium meetings, to promote and facilitate remote participation in meetings and to adopt low carbon-footprint measures. The first steps into this direction will be adopted for the next Consortium meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, which will take place the week of 18 – 22 May 2020.