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Research Infrastructure

High Energy Stereoscopic System

Description H.E.S.S. is one of the leading observatories studying very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray astrophysics with a system of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes that investigate cosmic gamma rays in the energy range from 10s of GeV to 10s of TeV. The name H.E.S.S. stands for High Energy Stereoscopic System, and is also intended to pay homage to Victor Hess, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936 for his discovery of cosmic radiation. The instrument allows scientists to explore gamma-ray sources with intensities at a level of a few thousandths of the flux of the Crab nebula (the brightest steady source of gamma rays in the sky). H.E.S.S. is located in Namibia, near the Gamsberg mountain, an area well known for its excellent optical quality. The first of the four telescopes of Phase I of the H.E.S.S. project went into operation in Summer 2002; all four were operational in December 2003, and were officially inaugurated on September 28, 2004. A much larger fifth telescope - H.E.S.S. II - has been operational since July 2012, extending the energy coverage towards lower energies and further improving sensitivity. The H.E.S.S. observatory is operated by the collaboration of more than 170 scientists, from 32 scientific institutions and 12 different countries: Namibia and South Africa, Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Armenia, and Australia. To date, the H.E.S.S. Collaboration has published over 100 articles in high-impact scientific journals, including the top-ranked ‘Nature’ and ‘Science’ journals. H.E.S.S. was awarded in 2006 the Descartes Prize of the European Commission - the highest recognition for collaborative research - and in 2010 the prestigious Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society. In a survey in 2006, H.E.S.S. was ranked the 10th most influential observatory worldwide, joining the ranks with the Hubble Space Telescope or the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory ESO in Chile.
URL http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/hfm/HESS/
Status Operational since 2002
Scientific Domains Physical Sciences and Engineering
RI Categorization Telescopes
Location Saupfercheckweg 1, Heidelberg, D-69117, Germany
MERIL URL http://portal.meril.eu/meril/view/facilitys/15487