CTA Prototype Telescope, the Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope, Inaugurated at Whipple Observatory in Arizona

The next generation in ground-based gamma-ray astronomical instrumentation took a major step forward with the inauguration on January 17, 2019, of a full-scale prototype 9.7m Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (SCT) as a pathfinder for the Medium Size Telescopes (MSTs) of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), studying gamma rays in the energy range from 100 GeV to 10 TeV via the imaging atmospheric Cherenkov technique. The SCT employs an aplanatic two-mirror optical system to simultaneously increase the field of view to 8 degrees and significantly improve the imaging resolution via reduction of the camera pixel size by more than a factor of 2. The telescope was designed by a consortium of U. S. institutions, including Columbia University, along with international partners. The pSCT was made possible by funding through the U.S. National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation program and by the contributions of thirty institutions and five critical industrial partners across the United States, Italy, Germany, Japan, and Mexico. While the project has been in development since 2012, the pSCT construction started in early 2016 at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona and is now completed. For more information, please see the CTA press release here

Columbia and Barnard Scientists were critical contributors to the succss of the project.

  • Professor Brian Humensky
  • Professor Reshmi Mukherjee
  • Qi Feng - Postdoc
  • Deivid Ribeiro - PhD student
  • Ari Brill - PhD student
  • Andrii Petrashyk - PhD student
  • Colin Adams - PhD student

Various views of the pSCT

One of the VERITAS telescopes