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Brazil collaborates on installation of new observatory in Spain

ASTRI Mini-Array telescope being installed in the Canary Islands

Carlos Firmino

Astronomers from Brazil, Italy, and South Africa have started work on the first of nine telescopes that will comprise the ASTRI Mini-Array at Teide Observatory in the Canary Islands, Spain. The specialist equipment is designed to detect Cherenkov radiation, a very faint type of light produced by the movement of particles generated by gamma rays from space colliding with particles in the air. By tracking this light, scientists aim to identify the phenomena inside and outside our galaxy that create these gamma rays. Researchers from seven Brazilian institutions have participated in the project since its early stages in the state of São Paulo, with funding from FAPESP. The tests conducted with the ASTRI telescopes will also be useful to the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the largest gamma-ray observatory in the world, which is currently under construction and will use telescopes with a similar mechanical structure to ASTRI’s. FAPESP provides funding to the CTA through two thematic projects.