First results from VERITAS

Department of Physics, McGill University, Montreal, Que., Canada H3A 2T8
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment (Impact Factor: 1.22). 04/2008; DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2008.01.020


VERITAS is an array of four, 12-m-diameter, Cherenkov telescopes, designed to explore the very-high-energy gamma-ray sky in the energy band between 100 GeV and 50 TeV. Its construction and commissioning have occurred over the past two years and the array has been taking scientific data with three or more telescopes since November 2006. We present results from observations made with VERITAS during the past observing season, including new results on the distant blazar 1ES1218+304, the active galaxy M87 and the high-mass X-ray binary system LS I +61 303. We also describe the plans in place for the coming observing seasons.

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    ABSTRACT: The photon density on the ground is a fundamental quantity in all experiments based on Cherenkov light measurements, e.g. in the Imaging Air Cherenkov Telescopes (IACT). IACT's are commonly and successfully used in order to search and study Very High Energy (VHE) gamma-ray sources. Difficulties with separating primary photons from primary hadrons (mostly protons) in Cherenkov experiments become larger at lower energies. I have calculated longitudinal and lateral density distributions and their fluctuations at low energies basing on Monte Carlo simulations (for vertical gamma cascades and protonic showers) to check the influence of the detector parameters on the possible measurement. Relative density fluctuations are significantly higher in proton than in photon induced showers. Taking into account the limited detector field of view (FOV) implies the changes of these calculated distributions for both types of primary particles and causes an enlargement in relative fluctuations. Absorption due to Rayleigh and Mie scattering has an impact on mean values but does not change relative fluctuations. The total number of Cherenkov photons is more sensitive to the observation height in gamma cascades than in proton showers at low primary energies. The relative fluctuations of the density do not depend on the reflector size in the investigated size range (from 240 m^2 up to 960 m^2). This implies that a single telescope with a mirror area larger than that of the MAGIC telescope cannot achieve better energy resolution than estimated and presented in this paper. The correlations between longitudinal and lateral distributions are much more pronounced for primary gamma-ray than for primary proton showers. Comment: 21 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication in Journal of Physics G
    Journal of Physics G Nuclear and Particle Physics 02/2009; 36(4). DOI:10.1088/0954-3899/36/4/045201 · 2.78 Impact Factor