Within the framework of the CTA international project, INAF is leading the ASTRI (Astrofisica con Specchi a Tecnologia Replicante Italiana) Project. The main goals of the project are the realization of an end-to-end prototype of the CTA small-size class of telescopes in a dual-mirror (SST-2M) Schwarzschild-Couder configuration and, in a second phase, the deployment of a mini-array composed of nine SST-2M telescopes, proposed to be placed at the selected CTA southern site in Chile.
The ASTRI SST-2M prototype has been installed on September 2014 at the INAF “M.C. Fracastoro” observing station in Serra La Nave (Mt. Etna, Sicily) and it is currently undergoing engineering tests. The telescope is characterized by a wide-field dual-mirror Schwarzschild-Couder optical design and by an innovative Silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) camera managed by a very fast read-out electronics. Although the prototype is meant to be mainly a technological demonstrator, a scientific and performance validation phase of the whole system is foreseen to start by the second half of 2016. During this phase, some well-known very high-energy gamma-ray sources, such as the Crab Nebula, Mrk 421, and Mrk 501, will be observed.
A remarkable improvement in terms of performance and science feasibility is foreseen to come from the deployment and operation of the ASTRI SST-2M mini-array, likely by 2018. The ASTRI mini-array project is still led by INAF in synergy with the Universidade de S ̃ao Paulo (Brazil) and the North-West University (South Africa). The mini-array will represent one of the future pre-production CTA telescopes and will allow to test hardware and software solutions that are proposed to be eventually adopted by CTA. Thanks to its expected sensitivity, (better than the current ground-based Cherenkov experiments above ∼10 TeV) and the large field of view (FoV, ∼10◦), the ASTRI mini-array will be able to perform simultaneous observations of multiple targets and to study in great detail relatively bright galactic and extragalactic sources (at a level of a few 10^−12 erg cm^−2 ^s−1 between 1 and 10 TeV) .
Within the ASTRI Project, the INAF-OAR group is in charge of the development of the whole data reduction and scientific analysis software and in the realisation of the ASTRI data archive system, both for the ASTRI prototype and the mini-array.
ASTRI people at OAR:
L.A. Antonelli, A. Carosi (ASDC), A. Di Paola, S. Gallozzi, S. Lombardi, F. Lucarelli (ASDC), M. Mastropietro, M. Perri, V. Testa