TitleScience with the Cherenkov Telescope Array
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsConsortium, TCherenkov
Date Published01/2018

The Cherenkov Telescope Array, CTA, will be the major global observatory for very high energy gamma-ray astronomy over the next decade and beyond. The scientific potential of CTA is extremely broad: from understanding the role of relativistic cosmic particles to the search for dark matter. CTA is an explorer of the extreme universe, probing environments from the immediate neighbourhood of black holes to cosmic voids on the largest scales. Covering a huge range in photon energy from 20 GeV to 300 TeV, CTA will improve on all aspects of performance with respect to current instruments.

The observatory will operate arrays on sites in both hemispheres to provide full sky coverage and will hence maximize the potential for the rarest phenomena such as very nearby supernovae, gamma-ray bursts or gravitational wave transients. With 99 telescopes on the southern site and 19 telescopes on the northern site, flexible operation will be possible, with sub-arrays available for specific tasks. CTA will have important synergies with many of the new generation of major astronomical and astroparticle observatories. Multi-wavelength and multi-messenger approaches combining CTA data with those from other instruments will lead to a deeper understanding of the broad-band non-thermal properties of target sources.

The CTA Observatory will be operated as an open, proposal-driven observatory, with all data available on a public archive after a pre-defined proprietary period. Scientists from institutions worldwide have combined together to form the CTA Consortium. This Consortium has prepared a proposal for a Core Programme of highly motivated observations. The programme, encompassing approximately 40% of the available observing time over the first ten years of CTA operation, is made up of individual Key Science Projects (KSPs), which are presented in this document.