The magic of the stars on the mirror of MAGIC

This shot shows the trail left by the stars (star trails – most commonly known), caused by the rotation of the Earth, captured with a long exposure time. The photo is striking because the tails of stars are reflected on the mirror of one of the two telescopes Major Atmospheric Gamma- ray Imaging Cherenkov, which also involves INAF and INFN .

It is an extraordinary image that was made ​​by the Portuguese astrophotographer Miguel Claro in Los Andenes , near the observatory Roque de los Muchachos ( island of La Palma in the Canary Islands), where MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma- ray imaging Cherenkov telescopes ), a system of two telescopes was placed to observe celestial phenomena totally different from the traditional optical instruments.



The telescopes Major Atmospheric Gamma- ray Imaging Cherenkov installed on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. The photo and was made by the Portuguese astrophotographer Miguel Claro.

What you see in this picture are thousands and thousands of trails of stars also reflected on the mirror of one of the two MAGIC telescopes. We’re talking about 270 mirrors that can be individually managed. The photo above is the spectacular result of 53 shots taken with a Canon 60Da (ISO 2500 , 24mm at f / 2, Exp 15 seconds).

Take the picture to the stars has a very simple method, but make a portrait of a tail of a star is not as easy. You need a longer exposure time (even from 10 minutes to 6 hours): this technique allows you to show how the Earth’s rotation can affect movement.

Among the scientific objectives of MAGIC ‘s observation of active galactic nuclei (AGN ), whose immense radiation emission is powered by supermassive black holes , pulsars – neutron stars or rapidly rotating around their axis – and flashes of gamma radiation (Gamma – Ray Burst, GRB ) . MAGIC is designed to capture visible light, using the atmosphere as a natural drive to detect high-energy gamma rays emitted by various cosmic sources.

MAGIC project works together around 150 researchers from nine countries, including Italy with the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). INFN was among the founders of the MAGIC telescope binocular range, contributing so much of the reflective surface and electronics. Currently participates in the experiment with groups from the Universities of Padua, Udine, Trieste, Siena and Como. INAF, instead, is entered in the experiment MAGIC in 2006 and made a part of the mirrors of the second telescope. Scientists INFN and INAF contribute to technical and scientific activities of the experiment,  actively participating in the definition of scientific programs, the socket data and their analysis and interpretation.

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