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UCLA researchers improve scope of technology to help create gamma-ray observatory

An array of telescopes being constructed with the help of UCLA researchers will work as a system that allows researchers to study gamma rays in the sky with about 10 times more sensitivity than current telescopes. (Courtesy of UCLA Newsroom)

By Manya Kidambi

Feb. 7, 2019 1:19 a.m.

UCLA researchers are helping construct the world’s largest and most sensitive gamma-ray observatory.

The observatory, called the Cherenkov Telescope Array, will comprise 118 telescopes in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, according to a university press release. Vladimir Vassiliev, a professor in the physics and astronomy department, has served as the principal investigator on this project since 2012.

The array of telescopes will work as a system that allows researchers to study gamma rays in the sky with about 10 times more sensitivity than current telescopes.

UCLA researchers led the development of the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope, which allows the telescope array to capture gamma-ray sources more efficiently.

The telescope uses a dual-mirror system, a step up from the single-mirror designs that are typically used. This improves the quality of the images taken over a large portion of the sky. These panels were integrated and calibrated at UCLA.

Over 1,400 scientists and engineers will participate in the scientific and technical development of the array project, according to the press release.

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