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Site Negotiations for Cherenkov Telescope Array Started
On 10 April 2014, the 12 country delegates mandated by their governments to decide about the start of site negotiations for CTA met in Munich. They took note of the report of the international Site Selection Committee (SSC) and thanked the members of the SSC as well as the CTA consortium for their extensive inputs on the merits of the proposed sites.
The delegates representing Argentina, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Namibia, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK decided, based on the 75 percent majority required, to start the negotiations on the two sites in the southern hemisphere, namely Aar in Namibia and European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, keeping Leoncito in Argentina as a third option. After negotiations finally one site will be selected at the end of the year. With the selection of the potential telescope sites in the southern hemisphere an important step towards the realization of the international Cherenkov Telescope Array has been made.
As far as the northern site of the CTA Observatory is concerned – candidate sites are located in Mexico, Spain and the USA – further considerations are necessary. Therefore, the delegates decided to postpone their decision and to ask the CTA board of agency representatives – the Resource Board – to take this forward. The decision for the negotiations about the northern hemisphere site will be taken as soon as possible.
“We are very happy that this important step has been reached,” said B. Vierkorn-Rudolph, chair of the CTA Resource Board. “CTA will be a unique large-scale infrastructure for astronomy – with this decision we now can start the negotiations with the potential site countries in the southern hemisphere and advance the implementation of CTA.” The spokesperson of the CTA Consortium, Professor Werner Hofmann said, “The site choice is on the critical path towards implementing CTA; this decision represents a major step forward and we appreciate very much the engagement and support of the funding agencies and the country delegates involved in the decision.”