Gamma-ray burst science in the era of the Cherenkov Telescope Array

Susumu Inoue, Jonathan Granot, Paul T. O'Brien, Katsuaki Asano, Aurelien Bouvier, Alessandro Carosi, Valerie Connaughton, Markus Garczarczyk, Rudy Gilmore, Jim Hinton, Yoshiyuki Inoue, Kunihito Ioka, Jun Kakuwa, Sera Markoff, Kohta Murase, Julian P. Osborne, A. Nepomuk Otte, Rhaana Starling, Hiroyasu Tajima, Masahiro TeshimaKenji Toma, Stefan Wagner, Ralph A.M.J. Wijers, David A. Williams, Tokonatsu Yamamoto, Ryo Yamazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We outline the science prospects for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) with the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the next-generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory operating at energies above few tens of GeV. With its low energy threshold, large effective area and rapid slewing capabilities, CTA will be able to measure the spectra and variability of GRBs at multi-GeV energies with unprecedented photon statistics, and thereby break new ground in elucidating the physics of GRBs, which is still poorly understood. Such measurements will also provide crucial diagnostics of ultra-high-energy cosmic ray and neutrino production in GRBs, advance observational cosmology by probing the high-redshift extragalactic background light and intergalactic magnetic fields, and contribute to fundamental physics by testing Lorentz invariance violation with high precision. Aiming to quantify these goals, we present some simulated observations of GRB spectra and light curves, together with estimates of their detection rates with CTA. Although the expected detection rate is modest, of order a few GRBs per year, hundreds or more high-energy photons per burst may be attainable once they are detected. We also address various issues related to following up alerts from satellites and other facilities with CTA, as well as follow-up observations at other wavelengths. The possibility of discovering and observing GRBs from their onset including short GRBs during a wide-field survey mode is also briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-275
Number of pages24
JournalAstroparticle Physics
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Masanori Ohno for providing us with Fermi LAT data on the light curve of GRB 080916C. We thank comments from Felix Aharonian and Elisabetta Bissaldi. This work is supported in part by Grants-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan , Nos. 22540278 and 24340048 (SI), Nos. 24103006 , 24000004 , 22244030 , 22244019 , 21684014 (KI), and No. 21740184 (RY). YI, KM and KT are supported by JSPS Research Fellowships for Young Scientists. JPO acknowledges financial support from the UK Space Agency. RS is supported by a Royal Society fellowship. DW is supported by US NSF ( PHY-0970134 ). The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program ([FP7/2007–2013] [FP7/2007–2011]) under grant agreement no 262053 .


  • Cherenkov telescopes
  • Cosmic rays
  • Cosmology
  • Gamma-ray bursts
  • High-energy gamma rays
  • Special relativity


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