The MAGIC Telescopes

IFAE Research Groups

Gamma-ray Group

  • Gamma-ray Group

    The goal of this research line is to understand the most energetic phenomena in the universe, which generate gamma rays of energies above a few tens of GeV and at least up to hundreds of TeV, as well as to address particle physics open questions through gamma-ray observations.

    The Gamma-ray Group is led by J. Rico

    The MAGIC telescopes

    The two MAGIC telescopes were built and are operated by an international collaboration in the Canary Islands, and have a history of more than 17 years of continued, successful scientific operation. IFAE played a leading role in the design and construction of the MAGIC telescopes, notably by designing and building the whole camera of MAGIC-I and hosting the MAGIC datacenter at PIC. The group has held many top leadership positions in MAGIC, e.g. three spokespersons (O. Blanch is the current spokesperson), as well as technical, operations, software, analysis and publications coordination positions, and the Chair of MAGIC’s Time Allocation Committee. Since first light, scientists at IFAE have led analyses that produced some of the highest-impact MAGIC results, including 4 out of 6 MAGIC papers published in Science and 2 out of 2 in Nature.

    The MAGIC Telescopes
    The MAGIC Telescopes Credit: Chiara Righi. The MAGIC Collaboration.

    The Cherenokov Telescope Array

    IFAE was one of the founders and leaders of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) project to build a worldwide facility for ground-based Gamma-ray Astronomy, which now includes over 1500 members. IFAE contributed decisively to bring to Spain the CTA-North observatory. Manel Martinez was CTA co-spokesperson for over 5 years. CTA will have full-sky coverage thanks to a CTA-North observatory at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) in the Canary island of La Palma and a CTA-South Observatory at ESO-Paranal in Chile. It will provide a ten-fold increase in flux sensitivity and broader energy range compared to MAGIC, thanks to its two large arrays of telescopes of three different diameters: Large-Size Telescopes (23 m), Mid-Size Telescopes (12 m), Small-Size Telescopes (6 m), with 4 LSTs and 15 MSTs in CTA-North, and 4 LSTs, 25 MSTs and 70 SSTs in CTA-South. The CTA project is currently starting production, with the first Large-Size Telescope (LST1) of CTA-North inaugurated at ORM in 2018, and taking now science data.

    LST-1 teslescope
    The LST-1 waits for the sun to set on La Palma before getting to work. Credit: Otger Ballester (IFAE)

    The IFAE group co-leads the construction of the LSTs, the most complex and relevant for the study of key Fundamental Physics questions. The camera for LST1 was assembled at IFAE, and saw first light in 2019. IFAE members have been serving the project with responsibilities such as the Steering Committee Chair, systems engineer, camera coordinator and software coordinator. The activities are now gradually drifting from commissioning to scientific exploitation, including the combined analysis of MAGIC and LST1 data, for which IFAE is in a privileged position.

    Multimessenger astronomy

    In the framework of the ASTERICS and ESCAPE H2020 projects, IFAE is contributing to the design and implementation of public data models and analysis tools for gamma-ray astronomy. In addition, the group has recently embarked into multimessenger activities, aiming to correlate MAGIC signals with public alerts from neutrinos and gravitational waves.

    Next generation gamma-rays detectors

    Finally, IFAE recently started participating in the design of HERD, a next-generation detector on board the upcoming Chinese space station, for the study of high-energy cosmic- and gamma-rays, complementary to CTA. IFAE has the responsibility of optimizing the performance of the detector for gamma-rays and designing the corresponding trigger system.

  • Group Members

    Gamma-ray Group

    Staff Researcher

    • Oscar Blanch

      Oscar Blanch

    • Manel Martinez

      Manel Martinez

    • Abelardo Moralejo

      Abelardo Moralejo

    • Javier Rico

      Javier Rico

    Postdoc Researcher

    • Daniel Kerszberg

      Daniel Kerszberg

    • Giulio Lucchetta

      Giulio Lucchetta

    • Cosimo Nigro

      Cosimo Nigro

    •  Monong Yu

      Monong Yu

    PhD Student

    • Manuel Artero

      Manuel Artero

    • Luis Fariña

      Luis Fariña

    • Roger Grau

      Roger Grau

    • Keerthana Rajan Lathika

      Keerthana Rajan Lathika

    • Chaitanya Priyadarshi

      Chaitanya Priyadarshi

    Technical Support

    • Victor Acciari

      Victor Acciari

    • Patricia Marquez

      Patricia Marquez

    • Theodore Njoh

      Theodore Njoh

  • International Collaborations

    Gamma-ray Group

    The MAGIC Telescopes


    The MAGIC Telescopes

    MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov) is a system of two 17 m diameter, F/1.03 Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACT). They are dedicated to the observation of gamma rays from galactic and extragalactic sources in the very high energy range (VHE, 30 GeV to 100 TeV).

      Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, Spain
    Proposed CTA Telescopes


    The Cherenkov Telescope Array

    The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the next generation ground-based observatory for gamma-ray astronomy at very-high energies. With more than 100 telescopes located in the northern and southern hemispheres, CTA will be the world's largest and most sensitive high-energy gamma-ray observatory.

      ORM, La Palma & Paranal, Chile


    High Energy cosmic-Radiation Detection

    HERD has been proposed as one of several space astronomy payloads onboard the future China's Space Station (CSS), planned for operation starting around 2027 for about 10 years. The primary scientific objectives of HERD are: Indirect dark matter search with unprecedented sensitivity; precise cosmic ray spectrum and composition measurements; Gamma-ray monitoring and full sky survey.

  • Research Projects

    Gamma-ray Group



    Astronomy ESFRI and Research Infrastructure Cluster

    The ASTERICS project is a collaborative cluster for the next generation ESFRI telescope facilities (ELT, CTA, SKA, KM3NeT, EST) and other relevant research infrastructure initiatives in the area of astronomy, astrophysics and astroparticle physics.



    European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle physics ESFRI research infrastructures

    ESCAPE aims to address the Open Science challenges shared by ESFRI facilities (CTA, ELT, EST, FAIR, HL-LHC, KM3NeT, SKA) as well as other pan-European research infrastructures (CERN, ESO, JIV-ERIC, EGO-Virgo) in astronomy and particle physics research domains.



    High Energy Cosmic Radiation Detection

    HERD is one of the Cosmic Lighthouse Program onboard China’s Space Station, planned to be launched and assembled in 2020. Its main objectives are detecting dark matter particle, study of cosmic ray composition and high energy gamma-ray observations.



    Quantum gravity phenomenology in the multi-messenger approach

    COST Action to gather theoretical and experimental groups to work in the prediction and possibility of detection of physical phenomena characteristic from quantum gravity theories.

  • Selected Publications

    Gamma-ray Group

    • Acciari VA et al.
      MAGIC Observations of the Nearby Short Gamma-Ray Burst GRB 160821B
      Astrophysical Journal Letters. 908 (1): (2021) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Abdalla, H et al.
      Sensitivity of the Cherenkov Telescope Array for probing cosmology and fundamental physics with gamma-ray propagation
      Journal Of Cosmology And Astroparticle Physics. 2021 (2): (2021) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Acharyya A et al.
      Sensitivity of the Cherenkov Telescope Array to a dark matter signal from the Galactic centre
      Journal Of Cosmology And Astroparticle Physics. 2021 (1): (2021) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Acciari VA et al.
      A search for dark matter in Triangulum II with the MAGIC telescopes
      Physics Of The Dark Universe. 28 (100529): NULL- (2020) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Acciari, V. A. et al.
      Bounds on Lorentz Invariance Violation from MAGIC Observation of GRB 190114C
      Physical Review Letters. 125 (2): 021301- (2020) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Rico et al.
      Gamma-Ray Dark Matter Searches in Milky Way Satellites-A Comparative Review of Data Analysis Methods and Current Results
      Galaxies. 8 (1): (2020) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • et al.
      Teraelectronvolt emission from the γ-ray burst GRB 190114C
      Nature. 575 (7783): 455-458 (2019) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • et al.
      Observation of inverse Compton emission from a long γ-ray burst
      Nature. 575 (7783): 459-463 (2019) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Acciari, V A et al.
      Measurement of the extragalactic background light using MAGIC and Fermi-LAT gamma-ray observations of blazars up to z=1
      Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society. 486 (3): 4233-4251 (2019) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Nigro C et al.
      Towards open and reproducible multi-instrument analysis in gamma-ray astronomy
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 625 (A10): A10- (2019) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Guberman D et al.
      The Light-Trap: A novel concept for a large SiPM-based pixel for Very High Energy gamma-ray astronomy and beyond
      Nuclear Instruments & Methods In Physics Research Section A-Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors And Associated Equipment. 92319-25 (2019) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Palacio, J et al.
      Pointing optimization for IACTs on indirect dark matter searches
      Astroparticle Physics. 10484-90 (2019) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Acciari, V A et al.
      Constraining dark matter lifetime with a deep gamma-ray survey of the Perseus galaxy cluster with MAGIC
      Physics Of The Dark Universe. 2238-47 (2018) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Acciari VA et al.
      Constraining very-high-energy and optical emission from FRB 121102 with the MAGIC telescopes
      Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society. 481 (2): 2479-2486 (2018) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Abeysekara, A U et al.
      Periastron Observations of TeV Gamma-Ray Emission from a Binary System with a 50-year Period
      Astrophysical Journal Letters. 867 (1): L19- (2018) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Constraints on particle acceleration in SS433/W50 from MAGIC and HESS observations
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 612 (A14): A14- (2018) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Indirect dark matter searches in the dwarf satellite galaxy Ursa Major II with the MAGIC telescopes
      Journal Of Cosmology And Astroparticle Physics. 2018 (3): 009- (2018) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Search for very high-energy gamma-ray emission from the microquasar Cygnus X-1 with the MAGIC telescopes
      Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society. 472 (3): 3474-3485 (2017) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      MAGIC observations of the microquasar V404 Cygni during the 2015 outburst
      Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society. 471 (2): 1688-1693 (2017) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, ML et al.
      Performance of the MAGIC telescopes under moonlight
      Astroparticle Physics. 9429-41 (2017) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Detection of very high energy gamma-ray emission from the gravitationally lensed blazar QSO B0218+357 with the MAGIC telescopes
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 595 (A98): (2016) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Search for VHE gamma-ray emission from Geminga pulsar and nebula with the MAGIC telescopes
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 591 (A138): (2016) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Super-orbital variability of LS I+61 degrees 303 at TeV energies
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 591 (A76): A76- (2016) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      MAGIC observations of the February 2014 flare of 1ES 1011+496 and ensuing constraint of the EBL density
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 590 (A24): A24- (2016) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Limits to dark matter annihilation cross-section from a combined analysis of MAGIC and Fermi-LAT observations of dwarf satellite galaxies
      Journal Of Cosmology And Astroparticle Physics. 2016 (2): 039- (2016) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Aleksic, J et al.
      The major upgrade of the MAGIC telescopes, Part II: A performance study using observations of the Crab Nebula
      Astroparticle Physics. 7276-94 (2016) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Ahnen, M L et al.
      Very high-energy gamma-ray observations of novae and dwarf novae with the MAGIC telescopes
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 582 (A67): A67- (2015) [DOI] [arXiv]
    • Aleksic, J et al.
      MAGIC observations of MWC 656, the only known Be/BH system
      Astronomy & Astrophysics. 576 (A36): A36- (2015) [DOI] [arXiv]
  • Group News

    New Member

    New member in the Gamma-ray Group

    September 21, 2022

    Monong Yu has just joined the Gamma-ray group at IFAE as a postdoc.


    New CLUE container arrived at IFAE

    June 22, 2022

    This week, a new CLUE container arrived at IFAE.

    New Member

    New Member in the Gamma-ray group

    June 22, 2022

    Keerthana Rajan Lathika has just joined the Gamma-Ray group as PhD student.

    New Member

    New member of the Gamma-ray group

    February 23, 2022

    Giulio Lucchetta has just started as a new postdoc of the Gamma-ray Group.


    First LST observations after the volcano eruption.

    February 9, 2022

    The CTA LST telescope is back in operation. After a few weeks dedicated to cleaning the site and checking the telescope subsystems, the first sky data were taken in early February.

    New Paper

    New Gamma-ray group paper

    January 12, 2022

    agnpy: an open-source python package modelling the radiative processes of jetted active galactic nuclei ” by C. Nigro and others has been accepted for publication at the Astronomy & Astrophysics journal.