Laying the first stone of the prototype of the LST (Large Size Telescope)

On Friday, October 9th at five o’clock in the afternoon, the ceremony of the stone laying for the biggest Cherenkov telescope in the northern hemisphere, the prototype of the LST (Large Size Telescope) with a diameter of 23 metres, took place at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) on the island of La Palma. 

Takaaki Kajita, newly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, was present at the event. Takaaki Kajita's speech

The prototype telescope LST, which will be used to validate the large sized telescopes of the CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) could become the first telescope of the array when the agreement between Spain and the CTA consortium, by which the CTA-North is installed in the island of La Palma, comes into force. The CTA will be a major scientific infrastructure comprising 100 telescopes divided between two observatories (North, and South). There are 30 countries participating, with some 1500 engineers and scientists. Its objective is to study the astrophysics of very high energy gamma rays, allowing us to further our knowledge of the most violent and “extreme” aspects of the universe.

The Cherenkov telescopes do not detect gamma rays directly, but measure the effects they cause on interaction with the molecules of the Earth’s atmosphere generating an electromagnetic cascade. This type of radiation lets us study those physical processes, which release the biggest quantities of energy in the universe, among them supernova explosions, black holes, “microquasars”, active galactic nuclei, and gamma ray bursters. CTA will also allow us to search for dark matter and to study the possible quantum structure of space-time.

Japan, Germany, and Spain are the main contributors to the LST consortium, in which further participants are France, Italy, Brazil, Sweden, India and Croatia. In Spain, the members of the collaboration are the Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (ICC-UB), the Institut de Ciències de l’Espai (ICE-CSIC-IEEC), the Institut de Física d’Altes Energies (IFAE-BIST), the Centro de Investigaciones Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (High Energy Group, UCM-GAE, and Electronics, UCM-ELEC). 

The ICCUB participates in the CTA project since its inception and has welcomed many working meetings of the network. ICCUB researchers have been contributing to the Physics and electronics by making simulations of the observations that the CTA will perform of Gamma Ray Binaries. Besides they made a proposal for observing transient galactic objects beneath one of the Key Observation Projects from CTA.


Thursday, 8 October, 2015