Astronomy Instrumentation


The Astronomical Instrumentation group's activities within the Department of Physical Sciences are led by Dr Josh Reynolds in collaboration with a number of national and international research collaborators, most notably MTU Blackrock Castle Obervatory  and the Smithsonian Institute’s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory near Tucson Arizona, as part of the International VERITAS Gamma-ray collaboration.

This Whipple Observatory collaboration discovered the Imaging Cherenkov technique in 1988; a technique which has been universally adopted by VHE (Very High Energy) gamma ray astronomy groups worldwide.  VERITAS (The Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) is a collection of four telescopes which uses this technique to detect astrophysical sources of VHE gamma rays.  These telescopes have a wide range in sensitivity in the VHE energy band with maximum sensitivity from 100 Gev to 10 TeV.  It is operated by 100 scientists in 22 different institutions spread across the US, Canada, Ireland and Germany. VERITAS is a multi-million euro experiment and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and up to recently Science Foundation Ireland (through the Research Frontiers Programme).

Gamma-ray astrophysics observes the cosmos at the highest energies offering views of the most extreme environments such as relativistic jets emerging from accretion disks near black holes powering the nuclei of active galaxies, neutron-star powered supernova remnants (plerions) and the remnant shock waves from supernova thought to be the origin of galactic cosmic rays.  Noteworthy detections by the VERITAS group include the discovery of gamma rays from the M81 galaxy and pulsed gamma ray emission from the Crab Nebula pulsar. It is a very active collaboration with an extensive track record of high impact scientific publications. The MTU group has the primary role of atmospheric quality monitoring through the use of infrared radiometers and LIDAR as well as participating in the operation and maintenance of the VERITAS array of telescopes.

Learn more about the work of Veritas and Dr Josh Reynolds

VERITAS Results Published in Nature Astronomy




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