Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Mathematisch-Naturwissen­schaft­liche Fakultät - Experimentelle Elementarteilchenphysik

Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)



The Cherenkov Telecope Array (CTA) is a planned next-generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory. About 100 Cherenkov telescopes will be installed on two sites in the northern (island of La Palma, Spain) and the southern (Paranal, Chile) hemisphere. These telescope arrays will allow for an improvement in sensitivity of a factor of 10 when compared with current installations like H.E.S.S., MAGIC or VERITAS. CTA will also extend the energy range and will grant access to photon energies above 100 TeV.


At present, the local CTA group contributes to the design, control and calibration of the medium-size telescopes (MSTs). These telescopes will cover CTA's core energy range (0.1 TeV - 10 TeV); it is planned to build 15 and 25 MSTs on La Palma and in Chile, respectively. In the period 2012-2020, the local CTA group was strongly committed to using a 12m MST prototype, erected by DESY Zeuthen on the Adlershof Campus, as a test bed for construction, operation and calibration. Earlier CTA work addressed a number of topics ranging from data acquisition and control for the CTA arrays, via Monte Carlo studies (camera trigger and data rates), to physics studies (dark matter).

Research Topics

  • Mirror Alignment and Pointing Calibration For MSTs

    The precise localization of gamma-ray sources requires a high-quality alignment of the MST optics and detailed knowledge of its pointing direction. The local CTA group uses data recorded by CCD cameras at the 12m MST prototype and at one of the MAGIC telescopes on La Palma to study how these CCD cameras can serve to align the tessellated mirrors and to determine the telescope pointing relative to known star positions.

    (Ullrich Schwanke)

  • Control of MST Telescopes and Automatic Error Detection and Recovery

    Each MST comprises several subsystems (Cherenkov camera, drive system, CCD cameras, mirror actuators, calibration devices) that need to be controlled and read out. The local CTA group is responsible for designing and implementing the control software for the MST structure (i.e. everything but the Cherenkov camera). They also study ways to automatically detect and solve hardware and software problems.

    (Ullrich Schwanke)

  • Condition Monitoring for MST Motors and Gears

    The efficient operation of the numerous CTA telescopes can be ensured by the application of predictive maintenance techniques. The local CTA group studies how problems with the MST motors and gears can be detected before they render an MST unusable for observation.

    (N. N.)

Group members

Staff scientists


List of theses written within the CTA group


List of publications of the CTA group