Brazilians build a telescope to detect gamma rays from the universe

Astronomers from Brazil, Italy and South Africa have begun organising the first of 9 Cherenkov telescopes at the Observatório del Teide in Tenerife, Spain. ASTRI small array. Together, they’ll detect the highest vitality radiation produced in the Universe: gamma rays.

Installation of the full array of devices ought to be accomplished in the second half of 2023, and the first astronomical photos ought to be taken in 2024. The group is answerable for constructing three of the 9 telescopes.

Brazilian researchers participated in all phases of the first telescope with the help of Fapesp.

“Brazil’s participation on this challenge is of nice strategic significance for Brazil, because it permits the nation to develop devices for multi-frequency astronomy,” says Elizabeth de Gouveia Dal Pino, a professor at the University’s Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. of the City of São Paulo (IAG-USP) and challenge coordinator.

“The nation has a sure custom of creating devices for optical and radio telescopes and is now concerned in gamma-ray astronomy. In this manner, we’re overlaying the frequencies of the spectrum from radio to gamma radiation.”

The ASTRI mini-array is a set of 9 Cherenkov telescopes, every 4 meters in diameter, designed to be related to these utilized in the “small-scale telescopes” (SSTs) that make up the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), a collaboration that additionally consists of the Dal Pino Group, the world’s largest gamma-ray astronomical observatory.

What are gamma rays?

Estimated to value €400 million (R$2.1 billion) and involving 31 nations (together with Brazil), the CTA is to be constructed utilizing a community of about 100 Cherenkov telescopes able to detecting and imaging thunderstorms. high-energy particles of sunshine produced when gamma rays from house enter the ambiance.

When gamma rays attain Earth, they collide with air molecules and create subatomic secondary particles (electrons and positrons), which fall in cascades, also called particle showers.

These high-energy particles can journey sooner than the pace of sunshine, inflicting a blue flash related to the shock wave produced by a supersonic jet when it breaks the sound barrier.

The impact was named “Cherenkov radiation or mild” after the Russian physicist Pavel Cherenkov (1904-1990) who found it experimentally. That’s why telescopes are referred to as that.

“The potential to view the world on this excessive vary of the spectrum has solely just lately been made doable by water tanks delicate to Cherenkov radiation put in at the HAWC Gamma Ray Observatory and LHAASO in Mexico. [sigla em inglês de Grande Observatório de Chuveiros Aéreos de Alta Altitude, situado na China]. But the decision of the alerts obtained by these devices is low. Therefore, it’s not possible to make certain the place the captured sign got here from,” Dal Pino stated.

excessive decision

According to the researcher, CTA will increase the decision of those sources up to ten instances. This is feasible thanks to the mixture of the telescope array assortment space and three courses of Cherenkov telescopes of various sizes unfold over two websites – the largest of which is positioned at Cerro Paranal at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). in Atacama (Chile) and one other at Los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.

In the first section of building at Cerro Paranal, 14 medium telescopes with a diameter of 12 meters and 37 small telescopes with a diameter of 4 meters shall be distributed over an space of ​​about three sq. kilometers. This set is primarily targeted on recording energetic and really vibrant occasions in the Milky Way.

In La Palma, Canary Islands, on this first section, 4 massive telescopes with a diameter of 23 meters in an space of ​​about 0.5 km² and one other 9 medium-sized telescopes geared toward decrease and decrease vitality observations. much less luminous extragalactic occasions.

Larger telescopes intention to seize phenomena that produce low, low mild energies. Small ones, on the different hand, have the perform of monitoring very sturdy and vibrant occasions. And common sizes shut the hole between the two extremes.

excessive vitality

Through a FAPESP-supported challenge, one other group of Brazilian researchers, led by Professor Luiz Vitor de Souza Filho of the San Carlos Institute of Physics at USP, developed a metallic construction used to home the digital camera of the medium telescopes.

“With this configuration of telescopes of three completely different sizes, gamma rays may be noticed over a very broad vitality vary, between 20 gigaelectron volts (GeV) and 300 teraelectron volts (TeV),” explains Dal Pino.

According to the researcher, all the exams, beginning with the set up of the ASTRI telescope array in Tenerife in collaboration with Italian and South African astronomers, shall be very helpful for CTA. “Testing permits modifications to be made to right any minor structural errors.”

Construction of the CTA Norte in Cerro Paranal started earlier than the Covid-19 outbreak and is scheduled to start this 12 months in the south of Spain. The well being disaster, the September 2021 eruption of the Cambrai Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands, and the current warfare in Ukraine contributed to challenge delays.

“In current years, there have been a variety of occasions which have affected the schedule of CTA. The warfare in Ukraine, for instance, has decreased the provide and contributed to the improve in the worth of metal, as a result of most of the metallic utilized in Europe is the nation,” defined Dal Pino.

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