High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.)
râžmân-e estereyo-ye meh kâruž (H.E.S.S.)
Fr.: Système stéréoscopique de haute énergie (H.E.S.S.)
An array of → IACT telescopes for studying cosmic → gamma rays in the 100 GeV to 100 TeV energy range. The HESS observatory is located in Namibia, southern Africa, at an altitude of 1800 m, and the project is an international collaboration of more than 100 scientists from nine countries. In its Phase I, HESS used four telescopes each consisting of a light collector with a diameter of 13 m and a focal length of 15 m placed at the corners of a square 120 m apart. Each telescope is segmented into 380 round mirror facets of 60 cm diameter and uses a camera consisting of 960 closely packed → photomultiplier tubes. The first of the telescopes went into operation in Summer 2002. Phase II includes a fifth telescope, called Large Cherenkov Telescope (LCT), of 27 m diameter, located in the centre of the initial array. This upgrade lowers the triggering threshold of the HESS array to about 20 GeV, thus broadening the energy window in which gamma-ray astronomy can be done, opening up more opportunities in astrophysical research (see, e.g., Bernlöhr et al. 2003, Astroparticle Physics 20, 111).
H.E.S.S., short for High Energy Stereoscopic System, is also intended to pay homage to Victor F. Hess (1883-1964), an Austrian-American physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936 for his discovery of → cosmic rays.