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High Energy Stereoscopic System

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High Energy Stereoscopic System HESS is a system of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes IACT for the investigation of cosmic gamma rays in the photon energy range of 003 to 100 TeV The acronym was chosen in honour of Victor Hess, who was the first to observe cosmic rays

The name also emphasizes two main features of the installation, namely the simultaneous observation of air showers with several telescopes, under different viewing angles, and the combination of telescopes to a large system to increase the effective detection area for gamma rays HESS permits the exploration of gamma-ray sources with intensities at a level of a few thousandth parts of the flux of the Crab Nebula

HESS has five telescopes, four with a mirror just under 12 m in diameter, arranged 120 m apart from each other in a square, and one larger telescope with a 28 m mirror, constructed in the centre of the array This current system, called HESS II, saw its first light at 0:43 am on 26 July 2012[1]

As with other gamma-ray telescopes, HESS observes high energy processes in the universe Gamma-ray producing sources include supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei and pulsar wind nebulae It also actively tests unproven theories in physics such as looking for the predicted gamma-ray annihilation signal from WIMP dark matter particles and testing Lorentz invariance predictions of loop quantum gravity

HESS is located on the Cranz family farm, Göllschau, in Namibia, near the Gamsberg, an area well known for its excellent optical quality The first of the four telescopes of Phase I of the HESS project went into operation in Summer 2002; all four were operational in December 2003

In 2004 HESS was the first IACT experiment to spatially resolve a source of cosmic gamma rays

In 2005, it was announced that HESS had detected eight new high-energy gamma ray sources, doubling the known number of such sources As of 2014, more than 90 sources of Tera-Electronvolt gamma-rays were discovered by HESS[2]

In 2016, HESS collaboration reported deep gamma ray observations which show the presence of petaelectronvolt protons originate from the supermassive black hole at central of Milky Way,[3] and therefore should be considered as a viable alternative to supernova remnants as a source of petaelectronvolt Galactic cosmic rays

A 1/30 scale model of a HESS telescope on display in the Science Museum, London Four telescopes in operation at night Aerial view of HESS 2017 

See also

  • Werner Hofmann physicist


  1. ^ "Largest ever Cherenkov telescope sees first light" Retrieved 27 July 2012 
  2. ^ "TeVCat online catalog for TeV Astronomy" Retrieved 4 Feb 2014 
  3. ^ HESS collaboration 2016 "Acceleration of petaelectronvolt protons in the Galactic Centre" Nature 531: 476–479 arXiv:160307730  Bibcode:2016Natur531476H doi:101038/nature17147 PMID 26982725 

External links

  • High Energy Stereoscopic System Project HESS on the internet
  • Nature: High energy particle acceleration in the shell of a supernova remnant
  • Science: A new population of very high energy gamma-ray sources in the Milky Way
  • New Scientist: Number of very high-energy gamma ray sources doubles
  • Aspera European network portal

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