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Gamma-Ray Astronomy

Large Size Telescope

Gamma-Ray Astronomy

In Dortmund, we focus on ground-based gamma-ray astronomy using Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes. These telescopes are sensitive to the only nanoseconds long and very faint pulses of Cherenkov light produced by extensive air showers in the atmosphere.

Using the Cherenkov light, these telescopes are able to measure gamma rays in the energy regime from as low as 30 GeV to several hundred TeV.

Using high-energy gamma radiation offers a unique view into the universe. Only the most extreme objects, like supernova remnants in our own Milkyway and supermassive black holes in the centers of other galaxies are sources of gamma radiation at TeV energies.

Focus in Dortmund

We focus on improving the sensitivity of these instruments, by developing new, machine-learning based analysis methods (link zu machine learning), improving the extensive simulations that are necessary for these instruments (link zu simulationen), and solving the inverse problems that arise in estimating the spectral energy distributions of cosmic gamma-ray source (link to inverse problems).

Bringing all this together, we also are part of the open gamma-ray astronomy effort, developing common data formats and analysis tools.


Our group is part of three international collaborations in Cherenkov Astronomy. MAGIC is an array of two 17m telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma, Spain and one of the most sensitive currently observing Cherenkov telescopes. FACT is a smaller, 4m diameter Telescope right next to MAGIC build to show the feasiblity of modern Silicon Photomultipliers in Cherenkov astronomy and for continous monitoring of bright active galactic nuclei. CTA will be the next generation and the most sensitive telescope array ever build. Currently in the planning and construction phase, work here is mainly focused on simulation and the analysis software.