Presentation #107.01 in the session Vis-IR Facilities and Instruments.
The world-wide, European-led Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the major next-generation ground-based observatory for studying the very-high-energy non-thermal Universe through gamma rays. The CTA entered the construction phase in 2020 and is expected to ramp up infrastructure development and installation of arrays of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs) in 2022 with an expectation of full operation by 2026. The observatory consists of Large-, Medium-, and Small-sized IACTs to provide a wide range of energy coverage from 30 GeV to greater than 300 TeV. The innovative Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (SCT) is a candidate design and a proposed major U.S. contribution for the Medium-sized, 10m aperture telescopes for CTA. The SCT is designed to simultaneously achieve a wide field of view and high imaging resolution by implementing novel, aspheric, segmented dual-mirror optics and compact silicon photomultiplier detectors. The pioneering technologies of the SCT have the potential to advance the science capabilities of CTA particularly for conducting sky surveys, detecting multi-messenger transients with poorly known initial localization in follow-up observations, and delineating the morphology of gamma-ray sources with large angular extent. This presentation will provide an overview of the SCT program in the U.S. including the construction of a full-scale prototype instrument by an international consortium of scientists and a scientific performance study of the SCTs in CTA. A significant US-led SCT contribution to CTA would enable U.S. scientists to access CTA data and provide continuity for very-high-energy astrophysics research in the country where the techniques of ground-based gamma-ray astronomy were first successfully demonstrated.