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Istituto italiano di astrofisica - national institute for astrophisics

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CTA will have its permanent headquarters in Italy

The National Institute for Astrophysics wins the European competition: the board of the project has decided that the headquarters of the international organization leading one of the most prestigious infrastructure of modern physics will be located in Italy

The permanent headquarters of the CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) project will be located in Bologna, near a few of the most prestigious INAF regional offices, in an area where the University of Bologna is implementing structural growth interventions. When completed, CTA will be the most powerful and sensitive observatory for gamma rays ever built. The decision has been taken unanimously by the council of the CTA project at its meeting in Monaco of Bavaria (Germany) on 13 June.

"It is a victory that strengthens the global role of our organization", said Nicolò D'Amico, President of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). "It’s a victory that comes at the right time because the research branch is again at the centre of development plans of the country, thanks to the considerable resources allocated by the Government through the National Research Plan (PNR)".

CTA is led by a consortium of scientific institutions from more than 30 countries and is included in the ESFRI (European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures) Roadmap. The project is an international effort to create an infrastructure of over a hundred telescopes (to be installed both in Chile and in the Canaries Islands) which will study photons of very high energy coming from the universe, opening new horizons for fundamental physics and for astrophysics. More than 1000 researchers all over the world are contributing to this ambitious project.

The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research Stefania Giannini said: "We are proud of this new achievement by our National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), the leader of a group of institutions that manages the best excellence of research of the country projected toward a high profile international context". "This follows another recent extraordinary achievement for the country”, added the Minister, “represented by the largest contract ever sign in the history of astronomy from the ground: a consortium of Italian industries will build part of the ESO project E-ELT. This confirms the overall value and the competitiveness achieved by the National Institute of Astrophysics".

Thanks to the funding coming from the Project "ASTRI" of the Ministry of Education and a recent special funding approved by Parliament with the financial act of 2015, INAF is able to consolidate its leadership in the science key objectives of this initiative and in the development of technologies, thus managing to win the international competition that will lead to Bologna, being the headquarters of this new challenge of modern physics.

"The University and the entire city of Bologna are proud for this milestone", said Professor Francesco Ubertini, Rector of the University of Bologna. "It’s a result that confirms the strategic value of some structural interventions aimed to the consolidation of synergies among research institutions and the Departments of the University".

The Italian contribution in this project will involve more than 200 researchers and experts distributed in various regional offices of INAF and of INFN (the National Institute of Nuclear Physics) and in Italian universities, institutions and industries. INAF plans to contribute to the array of telescopes that will be located in the Southern site, or at the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile, with 30 replicas of the SST (Size Small Telescope) prototype established under the ASTRI project in September 2014 and now operating at the Serra La Nave Observing Station on the Etna Mountain managed by INAF-Astrophysical Observatory of Catania.

Images and videos can be found here.

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