Located at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona, the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) is an array of four imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs) designed for very-high-energy (VHE: above ~100 GeV) gamma ray astronomy. This major ground-based gamma ray instrument observes gamma rays via the detection of Cherenkov light pulses, which are produced when gamma rays interact with the Earth’s atmosphere.
Each of the four telescopes has a segmented reflecting aperture 12 m in diameter, consisting of 350 individual mirror facets. These mirrors work together to reflect and focus the faint Cherenkov light onto the camera, which is composed of 499 pixels (where each pixel is a photomultiplier tube combined with a preamplifier). The light information captured by the camera is then analyzed and may reveal much about a variety of science topics, such as black holes at the centers of active galaxies, pulsars, supernova remnants, etc.