H.E.S.S. Telescope Phase II inaugurated

2012.09.28 - H.E.S.S. Telescope Phase II inauguration Enlarge image Names (l.to.r.): Prof. Jaques Martino (CRNS), André Scholz (German Embassy), Hon. Minister Dr. Abraham Iyambo, Prof. Werner Hofmann (MPI), Jean-louis Zoel (French Embassy), Prof. Lazarus Hangula (UNAM). (© German Embassy)

Honourable Minister for Education, Dr. Abraham Iyambo officially inaugurated the second phase of the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) on Farm Goellschau, situated 100 km from Windhoek. The ceremony on 28 September was witnessed by a large audience, international scientists and high ranking diplomats, e.g., H.E. French Ambassador Jean-Louis Zoël, H.E. EU Ambassador Raúl Fuentes Milani, and German Chargé d’Affaires André Scholz.

Prof. Werner Hofmann, Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg, presented the new H.E.S.S. II telescope – the largest telescope of its kind world wide – to the Hon. Minister.

On behalf of the funding and academic institutions, Prof. Eberhard Bodenschatz, Deputy Chair of the CPT Section of the Max Planck Society, Germany; Prof. Jacques Martino,  Director Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France; Dr. Daniel Weselka, Federal Ministry of Science and Research, Austria; Prof Nithaya Chetty, Head of astronomy at the National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa; and Prof. Lazarus Hangula, Vice Chancellor University of Namibia, informed the guests about the project and their contributions to this success story. In a joyous moment, the Hon. Minister was tasked to press the “START” button, upon which the telescope turned towards the sky.

The H.E.S.S. observatory has been operated for a decade by the collaboration of more than 170 scientists, from 32 scientific institutions and 12 different countries: Namibia and South Africa, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Armenia, and Australia. Funding for the construction of H.E.S.S. was provided by the German Max Planck Society (about 50%), the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) (about 15%), the French CNRS (about 30%) and additional partners. The new H.E.S.S. II telescope will greatly enhance the capabilities of the H.E.S.S. instrument, and will ensure that the H.E.S.S. observatory in Namibia will continue to define the forefront of ground-based gamma ray astronomy, towards a deeper understanding of the extreme celestial objects which radiate in this waveband.