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) is the next generation ground-based observatory for very high-energy (E>100 GeV) gamma-ray astronomy. It will integrate several tens of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs) with different apertures into a single astronomical instrument. The US part of the CTA collaboration has proposed and is developing a novel IACT design with a Schwarzschild-Couder (SC) aplanatic two-mirror optical system. In comparison with the traditional single mirror Davies-Cotton IACT the SC telescope, by design, can accommodate a wider field-of-view, with significantly improved imaging resolution. In addition, the reduced plate scale of an SC telescope makes it compatible with highly integrated cameras assembled from silicon photo multipliers. In this submission we report on the status of the development of the SC optical system, which is part of the e ort to construct a full-scale prototype telescope of this type at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona.
In support of improved gamma-ray detectors for astrophysics and observations of Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), we have designed a new approach for the collection and detection of optical photons from scintillators such as Sodium Iodide and Lanthanum Bromide using a light concentrator coupled to an Avalanche photodiode (APD). The APD has many advantages over traditional photomultiplier tubes such as their low power consumption, their compact size, their durability, and their very high quantum efficiency. The difficulty in using these devices in gamma-ray astronomy has been coupling their relatively small active area to the large scintillators necessary for gamma-ray science. Our solution is to use an acrylic Compound Parabolic Concentrator (CPC) to match the large output area of the scintillation crystal to the smaller photodiode. These non-imaging light concentrators exceed the light concentration of focused optics and are light and inexpensive to produce. We present our results from the analysis and testing of such a system including gains in light collecting efficiency, energy resolution of nuclear decay lines, as well as our design for a new, fast TGF detector.
The supporting instrument on board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) is a wide-field gamma-ray monitor composed of 14 individual scintillation detectors, with a field of view which encompasses the entire unocculted sky. Primarily designed as transient monitors, the conventional method for background determination with GBM-like instruments is to time interpolate intervals before and after the source as a polynomial. This is generally sufficient for sharp impulsive phenomena such as Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) which are characterised by impulsive peaks with sharp rises, often highly structured, and easily distinguishable against instrumental backgrounds. However, smoother long lived emission, such as observed in solar flares and some GRBs, would be difficult to detect in a background-limited instrument using this method. We present here a description of a technique which uses the rates from adjacent days when the satellite has approximately the same geographical footprint to distinguish low-level emission from the instrumental background. We present results from the application of this technique to GBM data and discuss the implementation of it in a generalised background limited detector in a non-equatorial orbit.
The next large NASA mission in the field of gamma-ray astronomy, GLAST, is scheduled for launch in 2007. Aside from the main instrument LAT (Large-Area Telescope), a gamma-ray telescope for the energy range between 20 MeV and > 100GeV, a secondary instrument, the GLAST burst monitor (GBM), is foreseen. With this monitor one of
the key scientific objectives of the mission, the determination of the high-energy behaviour of gamma-ray bursts and transients can be ensured. Its task is to increase the detection rate of gamma-ray bursts for the LAT and to extend the energy range to lower energies (from ~10 keV to ~30 MeV). It will provide real-time burst locations over a wide FoV with sufficient accuracy to allow repointing the GLAST spacecraft. Time-resolved spectra of many bursts recorded with LAT and the burst monitor will allow the investigation of the relation between the keV and the MeV-GeV emission from GRBs over unprecedented seven decades of energy. This will help to advance our understanding of the mechanisms by which gamma-rays are generated in gamma-ray bursts