A project led by INAF in the field of the Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes
ASTRI, Astrofisica con Specchi a Tecnologia Replicante Italiana, a project led by the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), is aimed at design and development of a technologically innovative solution for small (4 m diameter) Imaging Atmosphere Cherenkov Telescopes (IACT) with large field of view (about 10 degrees).
The ASTRI telescopes, devoted to the gamma-ray astronomy from ground, are characterized by a dual-mirror optical design based on the Schwarzschild-Couder (SC) configuration. The focal-plane camera is
curved in order to fit the ideal prescription for the SC design and the sensors are small size Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs), read-out by a fast front-end electronics specifically developed for the scope.
The prototype of such telescopes, named ASTRI-Horn, has been successfully implemented and tested in the past years at the INAF Serra La Nave Astronomical Station on Mount Etna, Italy. In fall 2018 ASTRI-Horn provided the detection of very high-energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission from the Crab Nebula, first detection by a Cherenkov telescope in dual-mirror configuration.
Nowadays, a mini array of nine ASTRI telescopes, evolution of the ASTRI-Horn prototype, is currently being implemented. The ASTRI Mini-Array will be installed at the Teide Astronomical Observatory of the Instituto
de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) on the basis of a host agreement with INAF. Thanks to its expected overall performance, better than current Cherenkov telescopes’ arrays for
energies above ~10 TeV and up to 100 TeV, and its wide field of view (more than 10 degrees), ASTRI Mini-Array will be an important instrument to perform soon deep observations of the Galactic and extra-Galactic sky at the TeV energy scale and beyond.
Last but not least, the double-mirror structure of the ASTRI telescopes has been selected for the implementation of the Small Sized Telescopes (SSTs) of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the largest ground-based observatory in the VHE gamma-ray range.
The ASTRI project is led by INAF with the collaboration of a number o Italian Universities, the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil and North-West University
in South Africa.
Since the beginning the IASF-Palermo is strongly involved in the ASTRI project, in the management of the ASTRI-Horn and ASTRI Mini-Array entire programme and in specific areas as camera, electronics, performance study, end-to-end calibration of the telescopes and scientific related topics as well as in the speaker and publication office.
A. Alessio Compagnino
Melania Del Santo
Nino La Barbera
Valentina La Parola
Giovanni La Rosa
Fabio Lo Gerfo
M. Concetta Maccarone