The Cherenkov Telescope Array - Approaching a New Era of Gamma-Ray Astronomy

Presented by Dr. Sabrina Einecke, University of Adelaide

When the term gamma radiation pops up, associations with radioactive hazards may arise. Do we have to be afraid of gamma radiation from space? Fortunately, we don't have to be, because the Earth's atmosphere protects us. Unfortunately, it also prevents us from directly observing this radiation from Earth. But it is in the nature of man to be curious to overcome these obstacles to investigate this vicious radiation from space. In 1961, a satellite was the first to detect gamma rays from space. At about the same time, the Cherenkov radiation was discovered - a radiation that is emitted when charged particles move through a medium at the speed of light. This led to a new technique, capable of measuring gamma rays from Earth, and paving the way for ground-based gamma-ray astronomy.

However, it took 30 years until an appropriate experiment discovered the first gamma-ray emitting astrophysical source. Since then, hundreds of sources of Galactic and extragalactic origin have been discovered, and higher energies and sensitivities have been reached. The Cherenkov Telescope Array will exceed current experiments in a multitude of aspects: With more than 100 telescopes in 3 sizes at 2 locations equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, it will cover an area of 10 square kilometres on the ground, and it will provide a new view of the sky at energies of up to 300 TeV - more than a 1000 billion times the energy of visible light. With its unprecedented capabilities, it will refine our knowledge tremendously and will mark the beginning of a new era of gamma-ray astronomy. Deeper insights into this field will be subject of this presentation.

Bio: Born around the time when Cherenkov telescopes made their first discovery, Sabrina Einecke is observing the extreme gamma-ray universe for more than 8 years. She took her first steps in gamma-ray astronomy with the ground-based experiments MAGIC, FACT and CTA. Completing research stays at the Columbia University in New York, she expanded her interests to the utilisation of machine learning approaches to combine a variety of multi-wavelength data to fully exploit the information that is available. This also led to her PhD thesis with the title "The Data Mining Guide to the Galaxy". According to the German Physical Society, it has been among the best in Germany in 2017. After finishing her PhD studies in Germany, she moved to Australia and now supports the University of Adelaide as a postdoctoral research fellow. Her research focuses on Active Galactic Nuclei - the most extreme objects in the Universe - and data analysis using cutting-edge techniques from the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning - crucial for handling the immense amount of data collected by next-generation experiments.

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Wednesday 05 Sep 2018

8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Kerr Grant Theatre 2nd Floor, Physics Building, University of Adelaide, North Tce



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