Cherenkov Telescope Array – Ireland


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You are invited to attend a workshop in Armagh to discuss participation in the Cherenkov Telescope Array project in Ireland.

Venue: Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Date: Friday January 27th, 2017, 10am - 4pm (approx.)

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) ( is a multinational, world-wide project to build a new generation ground-based gamma-ray instrument with an order of magnitude improvement in the sensitivity compared to the current instruments and extension of the accessible energy range to above 100 TeV.  

This workshop will discuss opportunities for scientists across the island of Ireland to engage in the CTA.  Currently scientists from Dublin are involved in the development of the “small size telescopes” (SSTs) that would be used primarily to observe from the southern hemisphere site.  Scientists from Armagh are working on the provision of the maps of the distribution of molecular clouds for the CTA observatory, needed to interpret the data produced primarily by these telescopes.  
These efforts could be joined and expanded for full involvement in the CTA project.  In particular, the expertise of Irish scientists could be important to address one of the main challenges with CTA – the acquisition and processing of the enormous volumes of data it will produce.  CTA will handle up to one hundred telescopes, each producing data in parallel at rates ranging from a few megabytes to several gigabytes per second.  Besides the raw data streams, the telescopes will also produce high volume control and engineering data streams.  This requires the development of new data management techniques.  Our joint efforts could contribute to several key packages to aid the CTA data effort.  

Undoubtedly there are other opportunities.  For instance, in the exploration of the time domain for high energy astrophysics and the need for complementary observations at other wavelengths to detect and interpret sources.

The CTA will explore our Universe in depth at very high energies and investigate cosmic non-thermal processes.  CTA will serve as an open observatory for a wide astrophysical community, and will be the principal instrument that will provide deep insight into the generation of the most energetic particles in nature. 

The CTA Consortium consists of over 1200 members working in 200 institutes from 32 countries.  CTA is included in the 2008 roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).  It is one of the “Magnificent Seven” of the European strategy for astroparticle physics published by ASPERA, and highly ranked in the “strategic plan for European astronomy” of ASTRONET.

The aim of this workshop is to bring interested scientists together from across Ireland to discuss these opportunities and explore routes for collaboration and further engagement in the CTA.  We will have representatives from CTA as well as the CTA-UK consortium present  in Armagh to provide a broad perspective on the CTA project and its needs and challenges.


If interested in attending please email Aileen McKee ( at AOP. 

If interested in giving a presentation, for instance related to possible opportunities or relevant expertise that you might be able to contribute to CTA, please let her know. 

Further information about travel and accommodation in Armagh is given below.



Travelling to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland can be reached by air from many cities in Britain and beyond, and by ferry from England or Scotland. There are two ferry ports: Belfast and Larne. Belfast has two airports, Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport, both are ~40 miles from Armagh. easyJet and Ryanair operate a range of scheduled services to Belfast International Airport, and flybe, Aer Lingus and British Airways operate scheduled services to Belfast City Airport.

It is also possible to fly to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, which is ~80 miles from Armagh.  Dublin Airport offers a good choice of connections, airlines and frequency of services.  Note, however, that a separate visa may be required for certain nationals.

Belfast International Airport –
Belfast City Airport –
Dublin Airport –

Getting to Armagh
Belfast International Airport has a designated Airport 300 Service with Monday to Friday at peak times, the frequency is every 15 minutes.  The service runs between the Belfast International Airport and the Europa Bus Centre, Belfast.

Belfast City Airport has a designated Airport 600 Service with Buses every 20 minutes at peak times.   The service runs between the Belfast City Airport and the Europa Bus Centre, Belfast.

The Translink Goldline bus service between Europa Bus Centre, Belfast and Armagh takes about 1 hour. Avoid the regular service which takes the pretty route, stops everywhere and takes a long time.

Translink also have a bus service from Dublin Airport to Newry Bus Station, it would then be necessary to take another bus or a taxi to Armagh.  Newry is 19 miles from Armagh.

Northern Ireland Railways operate the Enterprise service between Belfast and Dublin, stopping at Portadown. Portadown Station is 10 miles from Armagh.  It is advisable to take a taxi from Portdown to Armagh as there are limited buses available.

The cost of a taxi from Belfast International Airport or the Belfast City Airport to Armagh is approximately 60 - 70 pounds; the journey takes approximately 60 and 90 minutes respectively.

It is possible to hire a car at any of the airports. During winter months this is often provides excellent value for money!

Translink – Northern Ireland's integrated bus and rail public transport company

Bus Éireann – National bus company in Republic of Ireland

Accommodation in Armagh
There are two hotels in the centre of Armagh; a modern hotel called the Armagh City Hotel ( and a smaller family hotel called the Charlemont Arms Hotel (

Bed & Breakfast at the City Hotel is £71 single, while the Charlemont Arms is £45 single. The above single room rates for both hotels are a special discounted rate, when booking accommodation please mention Armagh Observatory. 

For Armagh City Hotel email central reservations or phone +44(0)28 9038 5050; for Charlemont Arms Hotel email or phone +44(0)28 3752 2028.

There are also a number of Bed & Breakfast accommodation in and around Armagh, their details can be obtained on the Visit Armagh website (


Armagh Observatory and Planetarium &
Exploring the Cosmos since 1790

Last Revised: 2016 December 1st