It is generally assumed that fluorescence radiation does not play a significant role in the performance of Cherenkov telescopes. This assumption is put to the test of detailed Monte Carlo simulations. To this end we have implemented the production and tracking of fluorescence radiation inside the CORSIKA code, and generated gamma-ray induced showers in the very high energy range. The most accurate fluorescence-yield data available so far was used for this purpose.
The distribution of the light on ground has been studied as a function of various parameters affecting the detection and reconstruction of gamma-ray showers such as the angular aperture. From these distributions we are determining the conditions under which fluorescence radiation becomes significant. These results will also be useful to estimate the corresponding systematic errors in Cherenkov telescope observations.
The full simulation results have been cross-checked, on a small sample of events, against numerical calculations based on a one-dimension shower profile, yielding compatible results. Both tools can be used for further investigations, like studying the possibility to modify Cherenkov telescopes for the measurement of fluorescence induced by extensive air showers.