H.E.S.S. – High Energy Stereoscopic System

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H.E.S.S. - High Energy Stereoscopic System

The New Window on the High-Energy Universe
                                             The Galactic Centre




            Inauguration of the High Energy Stereoscopic System
            Windhoek/Goellschau, Namibia, September 28, 2004
H.E.S.S. - High Energy Stereoscopic System

Contents:
The H.E.S.S. Experiment                First Science
Imaging the Universe                   The Performance of H.E.S.S.
Exploring the Universe with H.E.S.S.   Gamma Rays from a Binary System
Gamma Rays from the Cosmos             A Mystery Source of Gamma Rays
Astronomy with Cherenkov Telescopes    The Galactic Centre
The H.E.S.S. Telescopes
The H.E.S.S. Cameras
Observing with H.E.S.S.
Images of the Sky with H.E.S.S.
The History of H.E.S.S.
The H.E.S.S. Collaboration
H.E.S.S. in Namibia
What does H.E.S.S. stand for ?
  Imaging the Universe
                                     Most of our knowledge about the universe
                                     comes from the observation of electromagnetic
                                     radiation from heavenly objects  starlight is
                                     the most obvious example of this radiation.
                                     Even with the naked eye, it is hard not to be
                                     overwhelmed by the view of the starry sky on a
                                     clear dark night. Images generated by modern
                                     large optical telescopes combine fascinating
                                     beauty with an enormous wealth of information
                                     for scientists.



The warped spiral galaxy
ESO 510-13
(C. Conselice et al., Hubble
Heritage Team, NASA)




        The Sagittarius Star Cloud
        (Hubble Heritage Team,
        AURA/STScU/NASA)


                                                           The Cone Nebula
                                                           (ACS Science and
                                                           Engineering Team, NASA)
 Exploring the Universe with H.E.S.S.

                                                                                                                 Different wavelength regimes
                                                                                                                 The visible starlight is only a tiny
                                                                                                                 fraction of the spectrum of radiation
                                                                                                                 incident upon the Earth. From red to
                                                                                                                 blue, the spectrum of visible light
                                                                                                                 covers one octave in frequency. The
                                                                                                                 full spectrum, on the other hand,
                                                                                                                 ranges over about 70 decades from
                                                                                                                 below radio frequencies up to the
                                                                                                                 gamma rays which the H.E.S.S.
                                                                                                                 telescopes aim to study. Modern
                                                                                                                 astrophysics explores all of this vast
                                                                                                                 spectral range, trying to learn more
                                                                                                                 about our stellar neighbourhood,
                                                                                                                 about our own and distant galaxies,
                                                                                                                 and about the Universe and its
                                                                                                                 history.



                                                                                                                  With the H.E.S.S. instrument,
                                                                                                                  we aim to image the universe
The `Multiwavelength Milky Way' illustrates how different the Milky Way appears in different frequency bands.     in the light of the highest-
In visible light, the centre of our Galaxy is hidden by gas clouds. Both infrared radiation and gamma rays, on    energy gamma rays, a regime
the other hand, penetrate these clouds and provide a view of the Galactic Centre. Infrared observations have      about which very little is
revealed the existence of a large black hole at the core of the Galaxy, with a mass corresponding to a million
                                                                                                                  known.
solar masses. (NASA)
  Gamma Rays from the Cosmos
The Supernova Cassiopeia A exploded in 1680 A.D.,                                                           What is so interesting about
sending a shock wave into space which by now has
expanded to 15 light years. Particles crossing the                                                          gamma rays ?
shock wave can be accelerated to the highest                                                                High-energy gamma rays allow us to
energies (R.J. Tuffs, MPIK)                                                                                 explore some of the most extreme, and
                                                                                                            most interesting objects in the Universe.
                                                                                                            Most of the radiation we detect is
                                                                                                            thermal radiation, created by hot bodies
                                                                                                            such as our Sun. The hotter the source,
                                                                                                            the higher is the frequency of the
                                                                                                            radiation.
                                                                                                            However, very basic considerations
                                                                                                            show that no material body can be hot
                                                                                                            enough to emit very-high-energy
                                                     The Crab Nebula is the relic of a stellar explosion    gamma rays; these must be generated
                                                     in the year 1054 A.D. It was the first strong source   in unusual, `non-thermal' conditions.
                                                     of very-high-energy gamma rays which was
                                                     discovered in 1989 by the American Whipple             These occur in the aftermath of stellar
                                                     Cherenkov telescope. (FORS Team, VLT, ESO)             explosions  supernovae  or in the
                                                                                                            vicinity of the giant black holes
                                                                                                            suspected to be at the cores of so-called
                                                                                                            active galaxies, which are continuously
                                                                                                            fed by stellar material from the
                                                                                                            surrounding galaxy.
    The active galaxy Cygnus A  the small                                                                  Examples of such objects are shown on
    white spot at the centre  sends beams
                                                                                                            the left.
    of matter across many hundreds of
    thousands of light years, generating                                                                    The H.E.S.S. telescopes teach us
    turbulent `plumes' when they are finally                                                                about the laws of nature under
    stopped, accelerating particles. (NRAO)
                                                                                                            such extreme conditions.
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