AMADO, Ariz. -- On 17 January 2019, a prototype telescope proposed for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (pSCT) is being unveiled in a special inauguration event at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in Amado, Arizona.
"The inauguration of the pSCT is an exciting moment for the institutions involved in its development and construction," said CTA-US Consortium Chair David Williams, a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The SCT's complex dual-mirror optical system improves on the single-mirror designs traditionally used in gamma-ray telescopes by dramatically enhancing the optical quality of their focused light over a large region of the sky and by enabling the use of compact, highly-efficient photo-sensors in the telescope camera.
"Ultimately, the SCT is designed to improve CTA's ability to detect very-high-energy gamma-ray sources, which may also be sources of neutrinos and gravitational waves," said Prof. Vladimir Vassiliev, Principal Investigator, pSCT.
Three classes of telescopes (Small-, Medium- and Large-Sized Telescopes) will be used to detect gamma rays in the energy range 20 GeV to 300 TeV with about ten times increased sensitivity compared to any current observatory.
"The SCT and other telescopes at CTA will greatly improve upon current gamma-ray research being conducted at HAWC, H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS, the last of which is located at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory," said Dr. Wystan Benbow, Director, VERITAS.