For the first time in the history of ground-based x-ray astronomy, the on-axis performance of the dual mirror, aspheric, aplanatic Schwarzschild-Couder optical system has been demonstrated in a 9:7-m aperture imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope. The novel design of the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (pSCT) is motivated by the need of the next-generation Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observatory to have the ability to perform wide (≥8°) field-of-view observations simultaneously with superior imaging of atmospheric cascades (resolution of 0:067 per pixel or better). The pSCT design, if implemented in the CTA installation, has the potential to improve significantly both the x-ray angular resolution and the off-axis sensitivity of the observatory, reaching nearly the theoretical limit of the technique and thereby making a major impact on the CTA observatory sky survey programs, follow-up observations of multi-messenger transients with poorly known initial localization, as well as on the spatially resolved spectroscopic studies of extended x-ray sources. This contribution reports on the initial alignment procedures and point-spread-function results for the challenging segmented aspheric primary and secondary mirrors of the pSCT.
The first prototype of the Schwarzschild Couder Medium Size Telescope (pSCT) proposed for the CTA observatory has been installed in 2018 at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory. The pSCT camera is composed of 25 modules with 64 channels each, covering only a small portion of the full focal plane of the telescope. The Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) has developed and characterized in collaboration with Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) a new generation of Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs) sensitive to the Near Ultraviolet wavelengths, based on the High Density technology (NUV-HD devices). The latest generation of 6×6 mm2 SiPMs (called NUV-HD3) have been used to equip a subsection of 9 out of 25 modules of the pSCT camera. An upgrade of this camera is foreseen between 2019 and 2020 using the same sensors, aiming to equip the full focal plane with 177 modules, for a total of more than 11000 pixels. We will present a full characterization of the performance of these devices, highlighting why they are suitable for Cherenkov light detection. An overview on the overall behavior of the installed sensors will be also given, providing information on the uniformity of the sensors and of the performance of the camera.
The construction of a prototype Schwarzschild-Couder telescope (pSCT) started in early June 2015 at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Southern Arizona, as a candidate medium-sized telescope for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). Compared to current Davies-Cotton telescopes, this novel instrument with an aplanatic two-mirror optical system will offer a wider field-of-view and improved angular resolution. In addition, the reduced plate scale of the camera allows the use of highly-integrated photon detectors such as silicon photo multipliers. As part of CTA, this design has the potential to greatly improve the performance of the next generation ground-based observatory for very high-energy (E>60 GeV) gamma-ray astronomy. In this contribution we present the design and performance of both optical and alignment systems of the pSCT.
The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observatory will be one of the biggest ground-based very-high-energy (VHE) γ-
ray observatory. CTA will achieve a factor of 10 improvement in sensitivity from some tens of GeV to beyond 100 TeV
with respect to existing telescopes.
The CTA observatory will be capable of issuing alerts on variable and transient sources to maximize the scientific return.
To capture these phenomena during their evolution and for effective communication to the astrophysical community,
speed is crucial. This requires a system with a reliable automated trigger that can issue alerts immediately upon detection
of γ-ray flares. This will be accomplished by means of a Real-Time Analysis (RTA) pipeline, a key system of the CTA
observatory. The latency and sensitivity requirements of the alarm system impose a challenge because of the anticipated
large data rate, between 0.5 and 8 GB/s. As a consequence, substantial efforts toward the optimization of highthroughput
computing service are envisioned.
For these reasons our working group has started the development of a prototype of the Real-Time Analysis pipeline. The
main goals of this prototype are to test: (i) a set of frameworks and design patterns useful for the inter-process
communication between software processes running on memory; (ii) the sustainability of the foreseen CTA data rate in
terms of data throughput with different hardware (e.g. accelerators) and software configurations, (iii) the reuse of nonreal-
time algorithms or how much we need to simplify algorithms to be compliant with CTA requirements, (iv) interface
issues between the different CTA systems. In this work we focus on goals (i) and (ii).
SLAC E158 is an experiment to make the first measurement of parity violation in Moller scattering. The left-right cross-section asymmetry in the elastic scattering of a 45-GeV polarized electron beam off unpolarized electrons in a liquid hydrogen target will be measured to an accuracy of better than 10-8, with the expected Standard Model asymmetry being approximately 10-7. An intense circularly polarized laser beam for the polarized electron source is required with the ability to quickly switch between left and right polarization states with minimal left-right asymmetries in the parameters of the electron beam. This laser beam is produced by a unique SLAC-designed, flash-lamp pumped, Ti:Sapphire laser. We present this laser system design and initial results from recent commissioning runs.