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

More than 1,500 project participants from 25 countries are engaged in various activities from construction to scientific development of the facility. It is supported financially by the governmental scientific funding agencies of many of these countries, as well as the European Union. Representatives of these agencies form the governing Council of CTAO gGmbH.
CTA will be building on the technology of current generation ground-based gamma-ray detectors (H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS) with an expected tenfold increase in the number of known gamma-ray-emitting celestial objects, detecting more than 1,000 new objects.


Some quick facts about CTA technology:

  • CTA will use more than 100 telescopes located in both the northern and southern hemispheres giving it a collection area that exceeds one million square metres
  • CTA’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 8 and 45 metres tall and weigh between 8 and 100 tonnes
  • CTA will use more than 6,500 highly-reflective mirror facets (90 cm to 2 m diameter) to focus light into the telescopes’ cameras
  • CTA’s cameras will use both photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and silicon photo multipliers (SiPMs) to provide more than 200,000 ultra-fast light-sensitive pixels
  • The Observatory is expected to generate approximately 100 petabytes (PB) of data in the first five years of operation (1 PB = 1 million GB)



The technology behind the next-generation gamma-ray instrument