Today the scientific community is facing an increasing complexity of the scientific projects, from both a technological and a management point of view. The reason for this is in the advance of science itself, where new experiments with unprecedented levels of accuracy, precision and coverage (time and spatial) are realised. Astronomy is one of the fields of the physical sciences where a strong interaction between the scientists, the instrument and software developers is necessary to achieve the goals of any Big Science Project. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will be the largest ground-based very high-energy gamma-ray observatory of the next decades. To achieve the full potential of the CTA Observatory, the system must be put into place to enable users to operate the telescopes productively. The software will cover all stages of the CTA system, from the preparation of the observing proposals to the final data reduction, and must also fit into the overall system. Scientists, engineers, operators and others will use the system to operate the Observatory, hence they should be involved in the design process from the beginning. We have organised a workgroup and a workflow for the definition of the CTA Top Level Use Cases in the context of the Requirement Management activities of the CTA Observatory. Scientists, instrument and software developers are collaborating and sharing information to provide a common and general understanding of the Observatory from a functional point of view. Scientists that will use the CTA Observatory will provide mainly Science Driven Use Cases, whereas software engineers will subsequently provide more detailed Use Cases, comments and feedbacks. The main purposes are to define observing modes and strategies, and to provide a framework for the flow down of the Use Cases and requirements to check missing requirements and the already developed Use-Case models at CTA sub-system level. Use Cases will also provide the basis for the definition of the Acceptance Test Plan for the validation of the overall CTA system. In this contribution we present the organisation and the workflow of the Top Level Use Cases workgroup.
Proc. SPIE. 9908, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI
KEYWORDS: Telescopes, Electronics, Imaging systems, Imaging systems, Cameras, Calibration, Field programmable gate arrays, Control systems, Control systems, Data acquisition, Analog electronics, Atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes
The High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) is an array of five imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes, sensitive to cosmic gamma rays of energies between ~30 GeV and several tens of TeV. Four of them started operations in 2003 and their photomultiplier tube (PMT) cameras are currently undergoing a major upgrade, with the goals of improving the overall performance of the array and reducing the failure rate of the ageing systems. With the exception of the 960 PMTs, all components inside the camera have been replaced: these include the readout and trigger electronics, the power, ventilation and pneumatic systems and the control and data acquisition software. New designs and technical solutions have been introduced: the readout makes use of the NECTAr analog memory chip, which samples and stores the PMT signals and was developed for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). The control of all hardware subsystems is carried out by an FPGA coupled to an embedded ARM computer, a modular design which has proven to be very fast and reliable. The new camera software is based on modern C++ libraries such as Apache Thrift, ØMQ and Protocol buffers, offering very good performance, robustness, flexibility and ease of development. The first camera was upgraded in 2015, the other three cameras are foreseen to follow in fall 2016. We describe the design, the performance, the results of the tests and the lessons learned from the first upgraded H.E.S.S. camera.
NectarCAM is a camera designed for the medium-sized telescopes of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) covering the central energy range 100 GeV to 30 TeV. It has a modular design based on the NECTAr chip, at the heart of which is a GHz sampling Switched Capacitor Array and 12-bit Analog to Digital converter. The camera will be equipped with 265 7-photomultiplier modules, covering a field of view of 7 to 8 degrees. Each module includes the photomultiplier bases, High Voltage supply, pre-amplifier, trigger, readout and Thernet transceiver. Events recorded last between a few nanoseconds and tens of nanoseconds. A flexible trigger scheme allows to read out very long events. NectarCAM can sustain a data rate of 10 kHz. The camera concept, the design and tests of the various subcomponents and results of thermal and electrical prototypes are presented. The design includes the mechanical structure, the cooling of electronics, read-out, clock distribution, slow control, data-acquisition, trigger, monitoring and services. A 133-pixel prototype with full scale mechanics, cooling, data acquisition and slow control will be built at the end of 2014.
The Observatoire de Paris is constructing a prototype Small-Sized Telescope (SST) for the Cherenkov Telescope Array
(CTA), named SST-GATE, based on the dual-mirror Schwarzschild-Couder optical design. Considering the mirrors size
and its specific curvature and the optical requirements for the Cherenkov imaging telescope, a non-conventional process
has been used for designing and manufacturing the mirrors of the SST-GATE prototype. Based on machining, polishing
and coating of aluminium bulk samples, this process has been validated by simulation and tests that will be detailed in
this paper after a discussion on the Schwarzschild-Couder optical design which so far has never been used to design
ground based telescopes.
Even if the SST-GATE is a prototype for small size telescopes of the CTA array, the primary mirror of the telescope is 4
meters diameter, and it has to be segmented. Due to the dual-mirror configuration, the alignment is a complex task that
needs a well defined and precise process that will be discussed in this paper.
The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the next generation very high-energy gamma-ray observatory, with at least 10
times higher sensitivity than current instruments. CTA will comprise several tens of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov
Telescopes (IACTs) operated in array-mode and divided into three size classes: large, medium and small telescopes. The
total reflective surface could be up to 10,000 m2 requiring unprecedented technological efforts. The properties of the
reflector directly influence the telescope performance and thus constitute a fundamental ingredient to improve and
maintain the sensitivity. The R&D status of lightweight, reliable and cost-effective mirror facets for the CTA telescope
reflectors for the different classes of telescopes is reviewed in this paper.