Construction Project

Building the world’s most advanced ground-based gamma-ray observatory

The current generation of ground-based detectors have cracked the door open to the high-energy Universe, giving us a glimpse of what there is to see. But with the CTAO, the door is expected to be pushed wide open to reveal an entirely new view of the Universe. This will be no small feat; scientists and engineers around the world have been working for more than a decade to plan and build the CTAO. How will they do it? Simply put, by pooling their knowledge and resources to build the most advanced Cherenkov telescopes ever constructed and by building more of them than ever before.
The CTAO will be building on the technology of current generation ground-based gamma-ray detectors (H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS) with an expected five to tenfold increase in the number of known gamma-ray-emitting celestial objects. Some quick facts about CTAO technology: 

  • The CTAO will use more than 60 telescopes located in both the northern and southern hemispheres giving it a collection area that exceeds one million square metres 
  • The CTAO’s three classes of telescope will provide broad energy coverage from billions to trillions the energy of visible light (20 GeV to 300 TeV) 
  • The telescope structures will stand between about 9 and 45 metres tall and weigh between 17.5 and 100 tonnes 
  • The CTAO will use almost 3,500 highly-reflective mirror facets (90 cm to 2 m diameter) to focus light into the telescopes’ cameras 
  • The CTAO’s cameras will use both photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and silicon photo multipliers (SiPMs) to provide almost 125,000 ultra-fast light-sensitive pixels 
  • The Observatory is expected to generate tens of petabytes (PB) of simulated and real data in five years (1 PB = 1 million GB) 

Construction Project Overview


The technology behind the next-generation gamma-ray instrument