Mumbai: India plans to offer an astronomical site at Hanle in Leh for an international collaboration that is exploring the possibility of setting up two large gamma-ray telescope arrays in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, a senior astronomer said.
The collaboration is planning the Cherenkov Telescope Array in both hemispheres to enhance understanding of the high energy universe, Professor Ramesh Koul, Head of the Astrophysical Sciences Division at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre said.
They are expected to become operational by 2018, enabling continuous observation of the universe, Professor Koul said at a lecture series in Astronomy at the Nehru Planetarium here.
In keeping with global efforts, the Himalayan gamma-ray Observatory (HiGRO) is to be set up jointly by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at the 4,200 m above sea level site at Hanle.
It will deploy a wave-front sampling telescope array, now at an advanced stage of commissioning, and the large area MACE (Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment) telescope. MACE will use state-of-the-art technology to configure a 21-m-diameter tracking light collector with a 1408 pixel imaging camera at its focal plane.
When operationalised by 2011, HiGRO will deploy the highest-altitude and lowest-energy threshold gamma-ray telescopes to try and unravel the mysteries of the universe, Professor Koul said.
The ground-based gamma-ray astronomy has detected more than 75 galactic and extragalactic gamma-ray sources over the last few years. This recent branch of astronomy has progressed during the last five years with the operation of new-generation telescopes Hess (High Energy Stereoscopic System), Magic (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov telescope) and Veritas (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System, Southern Arizona). — PTI
6 months ago