The largest ground-based gamma-ray detection observatory in the world

Building on the technology of current generation ground-based gamma-ray detectors (H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS), CTA will be ten times more sensitive and have unprecedented accuracy in its detection of high-energy gamma rays.

Two arrays of Cherenkov telescopes

The CTA project is an initiative to build the next generation ground-based very high-energy gamma-ray instrument. The success of the precursor projects (i.e. MAGIC, VERITAS and H.E.S.S.) motivated the construction of this large infrastructure that is included in the roadmap of the ESFRI projects since 2008. It will consist of two arrays of Cherenkov telescopes operated as a proposal-driven open observatory. To view the full sky, two CTA sites are foreseen at southern and northern hemispheres, with three telescopes types (Large, Medium and Small - LST, MST, SST). The northern observatory will be built in La Palma, in the Canary Island, whereas the southern one will be placed in Chile in the Atacama desert.

ICE's participation

The Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) has been involved in the CTA Project from 2006 in both the technical, as part of the Array Control and DAQ System (ACTL) working group and leading the scheduler team and in preparing the scientific exploitation of the observatory. Concerning the scientific exploitation, our institute is leading a number of the 'Key Science Programs', putting an effort of maximising the physic output of the observatory. Our team is responsible for designing the Galactic observations of CTA. We are also in charge of coordinating the studies for the first light Galactic observations of CTA and its pathfinders, and of coordinating the necessary multi-wavelength activities (such MoU with other large installations). This follows our earlier efforts: we have been the global Science Coordinator of the whole collaboration for 8 years in the period 2007-2014, having responsibilities in the scientific definition of the experiment, up to Technical Design Report.

The Institute is responsible for the development of the scheduler since 2010. This task is included in the CTA Array Control (ACTL) work package and is a key element in the control layer for the observatory time optimisation. Our institute is also committed to develop and install the central control for the LST prototype, that will manage the operation and communication between the telescope different subsystems, and that will be extended to the rest of the telescopes units.


Senior institute members involved

Meet the senior researchers who lead our participation in the CTA mission.


  • Diego F. Torres

  • Josep Colomé

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