The world’s largest high-altitude telescope for detection of gamma ray emissions is all set to be transported to Hanle, Ladakh where it will be installed by 2015 summer and become operational by early 2016.
Secretary, DAE, and Chairman Atomic Commission R.K. Sinha will flag off the transportation of the giant telescope to Hanle on Saturday. It will be dismantled and taken to Ladakh in about 45 to 50 trucks.
The ‘Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment’ (MACE) Telescope will be the second largest in the world and the largest at high altitude with a 21m diameter. The largest telescope of the same class is the 28m diameter HESS telescope in Namibia. The responsibility for design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning of the telescope is with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to Electronics Corporation of India Limited here.
Very high energy gamma rays offer a unique insight into some of the extreme phenomena of the universe and the MACE telescope would enable scientists to study exotic objects like pulsars, super nova remnants and active galactic nuclei.
It will provide a better understanding of high-energy processes in the universe and help gain more insight into cosmic ray origins. When gamma ray photons enter the earth’s atmosphere, they generate a shower of secondary charged particles which cause a flash of blue Cherenkov light, lasting a few nano seconds.
Made up of 356 indigenously manufactured mirror panels and a high-resolution imaging camera capable of detecting extremely short duration light flashes such as Cherenkov events.
The 45-metre tall telescope is designed to operate in winds speeds up to 30 kmph and retain structural integrity in the parking position in winds speeds up to 150 kmph.
At a press conference here on Friday, Chairman and Managing Director, ECIL, P.Sudhakar said the unveiling of the telescope marked an important day for Indian science and technology. He said other similar telescopes had been built by developed countries in consortium whereas this was built indigenously. He said Hanle was the most suitable place in India to conduct gamma ray experiments. There was a live demonstration of MACE telescope at ECIL for media persons.
R.Koul, head of astro-physical sciences division, BARC, said that another similar telescope would be installed at Hanle in 2018.