ESO Becomes Shareholder in Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory

7 March 2019

ESO today officially became a shareholder of the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory gGmbH (CTAO). The necessary formal steps were concluded during the meeting of the CTA Council on 7–8 March at ESO’s headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany after ESO participating in the project for some time as an observer. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the next-generation ground-based observatory designed to detect very high energy gamma-rays. When completed, the array will comprise 118 telescopes shared between sites in the northern and southern hemispheres.

ESO already signed an agreement on 19 December 2018 to host the southern site of the CTA in the Atacama desert near the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile. The Paranal site, home of the Very Large Telescope, offers excellent viewing conditions and well-established infrastructure, making it an attractive location for new facilities such as CTA–South. The northern site of the CTA will be based on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

As a shareholder, ESO will be represented at the CTA Council, which shall govern the observatory, joining shareholders from 11 countries and associate members from another two. The current legal entity is the CTAO gGmbH, a German non-profit limited liability company. The participating countries are currently in the process of establishing the CTAO European Research Infrastructure Consortium (CTAO ERIC) which will construct, commission and operate the immense observatory.

The CTA is a huge international project, benefitting from the input of over 1400 scientists and engineers from across five continents. It will be the world’s largest high energy gamma-ray observatory and, with its unique sensitivity at these wavelengths, aims to probe the extreme environments that are the sources of gamma-rays, including pulsars and supernova remnants. It will provide unprecedented insights into the origin and role of relativistic cosmic particles.



Calum Turner
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6670

About the Announcement



Cherenkov Telescope Array rendering
Cherenkov Telescope Array rendering