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RE: VERITAS
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Astronomers of Chicagos Adler Planetarium are studying gamma ray bursts, a powerful form of radiation that pulses across the galaxy and could answer some of the universes darkest secrets.
The Adler astronomers are part of an international team of scientists studying gamma rays, one of the most powerful and least understood phenomena in creation. And their studies take them to the basin of Santa Rita mountain range in Arizona.

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The battle for a secure border has brought several sources of unwanted light to some of Arizona's darkest skies, where a $1 billion investment in astronomical observatories is threatened by the glow from nearby cities and, increasingly, by the more proximate lights of Homeland Security installations.
Spotlighting of VERITAS, which stands for Very Energetic Radiation Telescope Array System, had been witnessed at least once before. Observatory directors complained in meetings with the Border Patrol and in writing.

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Latitude: 31°40'30.21" N, Longitude: 110°57'07.77" W

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VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) is a new major ground-based gamma-ray observatory with an array of four 12m optical reflectors for gamma-ray astronomy in the GeV - TeV energy range . The telescope design is based on the design of the existing 10m gamma-ray telescope of the Whipple Observatory. It consists of an array of imaging telescopes deployed such that they permit the maximum versatility and give the highest sensitivity in the 50 GeV - 50 TeV band (with maximum sensitivity from 100 GeV to 10 TeV). This VHE observatory will effectively complement Fermi.
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Title: VERITAS: Status and Latest Results
Authors: G. Maier, et al

VERITAS is an atmospheric Cherenkov telescope array designed to study astrophysical sources of very-high-energy gamma radiation. Located in southern Arizona, USA, the array consists of four 12m-diameter imaging Cherenkov telescopes. All four telescopes have been deployed at the base camp of the Whipple Observatory and began full operation in early 2007. This paper describes the operational status of VERITAS, outlines the initial performance parameters of the instrument, and presents the latest results that have been obtained.

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Whipple Telescope array
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Telescope array opens at Whipple
Forty year ago, young Irish astronomer Trevor Weekes arrived at a nearby mountain observatory with some large mirrors from naval searchlights to begin the search for the elusive Gamma-ray.
Saturday, more than 250 people, including some of the worlds best-known Gamma-ray astronomers and administrators watched as the newest version of the telescope swung upward.
After years of working with a single telescope on Mount Hopkins, Weekes and associates will now use a four-telescope array,  the Veritas, at the Mount Hopkins Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory.

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Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System
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Using the new science of gamma-ray astronomy, University of Utah researchers are exploring deep space, seeking out secrets of nature undetected until now.
David Kieda, physics professor at the U., colleagues and students have been travelling to Kitt Peak south of Tucson, Arizona, to help build and run a remarkable set of optical telescopes searching the night skies for gamma rays.
VERITAS — the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System — is a set of four telescopes that were built in stages, with some starting observations before the array was finished. The fourth was installed recently and either has begun or is about to begin operations.

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Veritas telescope
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The new, larger Veritas telescope at the nearby Smithsonian Observatory is about to go online, and one of its older instruments may join Harvard University in the search for other life in the universe.
Trevor Weekes, director of Veritas, discussed both items at a lecture Tuesday.
Veritas telescopes consist of scores of smaller mirrors that collect Gamma-ray light for study. Gamma-rays are the most powerful rays known in the universe.
There’s a 10-meter Veritas telescope near the summit of Mount Hopkins, and a new, four-telescope array has been completed near the base camp—the offices and visitor centre east of Amado.

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VERITAS
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The National Science Foundation has halted construction of the $13 million VERITAS mountainside telescope array after a native american Indian tribe filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the area is sacred.

The foundation said it will work with the Tohono O’odham Nation , formerly known as the Papago Tribe, to assess the environmental and cultural value of the Kitt Peak area before resuming work on what the lead scientist said would be the most advanced system of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere.

We are being very deferential to ensure that the tribe is on board every step of the way,” - Charisse Carney-Nunes, foundation attorney.


The VERITAS array is to be built on this site in Horseshoe Canyon, on the grounds of Kitt Peak National Observatory.

The tribe, which claims 24,000 members, withdrew a motion to halt the construction but said it will press the litigation.
The lawsuit, filed in March, claims that the National Historic Preservation Act requires the foundation to consult with the tribe and the state Historic Preservation Office because Kitt Peak is considered sacred.

In the Tohono O’odham creation story, the universe gave birth to the world thanks to I’itoi, the deity who lives at Baboquivari Peak south of Kitt Peak.

Science foundation documents that are among court records acknowledge the importance of the two peaks to the Tohono O’odham people.

Both of these mountains figure prominently in tribal legend as the homes of ancient Papago gods”.


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An aerial view shows Kitt Peak's telescopes in the foreground and Baboquivari Peak in the background, as a knob rising dramatically from the surrounding ridge of mountains.

Amy Northcutt, a foundation attorney, said the group assumed it was in compliance with federal requirements because Kitt Peak National Observatory already operates on Tohono O’odham land under a 1958 lease with the agency.
The site is part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, and it supports 22 optical and two radio telescopes from eight research institutions.

The new project, the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System, (VERITAS) would eventually include seven scopes able to detect gamma rays coming from black holes, quasars and exploding stars.
About $1 million has already been spent to grade the site, install power lines and pour concrete foundations, and work continued on the telescopes offsite.
The government filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in May; the tribe’s response is due next Friday.

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