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We study the high-energy Universe in gamma-rays. To measure these gamma-rays, we are involved in the most sensitive array of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes to date, the High Energy Stereoscopic System H.E.S.S. and the planning of the next generation instrument, the Cherenkov Telescope Array CTA.
The H.E.S.S. data allow the study of the key questions of cosmic rays: what are their sources and how do they propagate? In 14 years of H.E.S.S. observations we have observed a multitude of Galactic and extragalactic gamma-ray sources (pulsar wind nebulae, supernova remnants, binary systems, blazars, just to name a few) and also diffuse gamma-ray emission in the Milky Way. Our group in Potsdam is active in the analysis and modelling of gamma-ray sources and diffuse emission. The low energy threshold and large sensitivity of H.E.S.S. II allows the study of phenomena on small time scales. Therefore, we also search for transient phenomena like gamma-ray bursts, which have up to date not been observed at very high energies.
The H.E.S.S. experiment constantly works on the improvement and expansion of its functionality. In Potsdam, we are engaged in the implementation of an automated alarm system for transient follow-up observations and software development and verification for the photon reconstruction.
Hardware developments are conducted at our partner group at DESY Zeuthen. There, the upgrade of the four H.E.S.S. I cameras is currently ongoing.
For information on Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. theses, see here.
Preparations are underway for a next generation observatory with dramatically improved performance. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will consist of two arrays, one in each hemisphere, with around 100 telescopes of three different sizes. CTA will bring much better resolution, higher sensitivity, a much wider energy range, and a collection area of many square kilometres at the highest energies.