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Exactly 30 years after the first historical observation of Crab nebula at TeV energies, which opened the era of TeV astronomy with the Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Technique (IACT), another advancement in IACT technology has been achieved. The ASTRI-Horn Cherenkov Telescope, based on the innovative Schwarzschild-Couder dual-mirror configuration and equipped with an innovative camera, has detected the Crab Nebula at TeV energies for the first time, proving the viability of this technology.
In 1989, the very first detection of the Crab Nebula at TeV energies (about a trillion times the energy of visible light) was obtained with the Whipple Telescope. This discovery was the initiation of TeV astronomy, which, with its rapid growth, has led to the detection of about 200 gamma-ray sources from other ground-based detectors like H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS and has paved the way for the next generation: the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO). Because gamma-rays never make it to the Earth's surface, these instruments use the Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Technique (IACT) to detect the by-product of the gamma-ray's interaction with the atmosphere: Cherenkov light. The interaction produces cascades of subatomic particles – these highly energetic particles can travel faster than the speed of light, which causes a faint and extremely short (of the order of a billionth of a second!) flash of bluish light. Cherenkov telescopes, since the very beginning, have been built following a typical optical design where the light is reflected off the telescope's mirror to be captured by the camera and then is converted into an electrical signal that is digitized and transmitted to record the image of the light.
National - Institute - Astrophysics - INAF - ASTRI
The Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) is leading the ASTRI (Astrofisica con Specchi a Tecnologia Replicante Italiana) project aimed at the design, deployment and implementation of a novel end-to-end prototype telescope that is proposed for...
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