The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will be the next-generation gamma-ray observatory, investigating gamma-ray and cosmic ray astrophysics at energies from 20 GeV to more than 300 TeV. The observatory, consisting of large arrays of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes in both the southern and northern hemispheres, will provide full-sky coverage and will achieve a sensitivity improved by up to an order of magnitude compared to existing instruments such as H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS. CTA is expected to discover hundreds of new TeV gamma-ray sources, allowing it to significantly advance our understanding of the origin of cosmic rays, to probe much larger distances in the universe, and to search for WIMP dark matter with unprecedented sensitivity in TeV mass range.
The development of CTA is being carried out by a worldwide consortium of scientists from 32 countries. Consortium scientists have developed the core scientific programme of CTA and institutes of the Consortium are expected to provide the bulk of the CTA components. The construction of CTA is overseen by the CTA Observatory that will in the future manage observatory operations, the guest observer programme, and data dissemination.
This talk will review the scientific motivation for CTA, focusing on the key science projects that form the core programme of research. The talk will outline the design of CTA, including the science drivers, overall concept, performance optimization, and array layouts. The current status of CTA, including sites, prototype telescope progress, and steps forward will also be described.