Exploring the most extreme phenomena in the Universe

The CTAO will look at the sky in higher energy photons than ever measured before. In fact, the cosmic particle accelerators CTAO will probe can reach energies inaccessible to man-made accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.
The CTAO’s unique capabilities will help us to address some of the most perplexing questions in astrophysics. The Observatory will seek to understand the impact of high-energy particles in the evolution of cosmic systems and to gain insight into the most extreme and unusual phenomena in the Universe. The CTAO will also search for dark matter particles and deviations from Einstein’s theory of relativity and even conduct a census of particle acceleration in the Universe.


The CTAO’s unique capabilities will include:

  • The CTAO will have unprecedented accuracy and will be up to 10 times more sensitive than existing instruments
  • An energy resolution of 10 percent will improve CTAO’s ability to look for spectral features and lines associated with the annihilation of dark matter particles
  • Rapid slewing in as low as 20 seconds will allow CTAO telescopes to catch fast, transient sources such as gamma-ray bursts ‘in the act’
  • Energies as low as 20 GeV will allow the CTAO to probe transient and time-variable gamma-ray phenomena in the very distant Universe with unprecedented precision
  • With an unprecedented performance at energies up to 300 TeV, the CTAO will provide a more detailed view of the gamma-ray sky than ever seen before
  • A field of view of eight degrees will allow the CTAO to survey the sky much faster and measure very extended regions of gamma-ray emission
  • An angular resolution approaching one arcminute will allow the CTAO to resolve many cosmic sources to understand how ultra-relativistic particles are distributed in and around these systems

Top Background Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Webinars for Researchers

CTAO Performance

Gamma Rays & Cosmic Sources


Observing the highest energy processes in the Universe


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech