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Inauguration ceremony of the H.E.S.S. II Telescope

World's largest Cherenkov telescope located in the Khomas Highlands of Namibia was officially inaugurated on 28. September 2012. Werner Hofmann (MPI for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg), spokesperson of the H.E.S.S. collaboration opened the ceremony with a brief presentation on H.E.S.S. II followed by a series of messages by Lazarus Hangula (Vice Chancellor of the University of Namibia), Eberhard Bodenschatz (Deputy Chair of the CPT Section of the Max Planck Society), Jaques Martino (Director of CNRS/IN2P3), Daniel Weselka (Federal Ministry of Science and Research, Austria), Nithaya Chetty (Head of astronomy at the NRF, South Africa), Jean-Louis Zoel (Ambassador of the French Republic) and André Scholz (Chargé d'Affairs of the German Embassy). Eberhard Bodenschatz conveyed a message from Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society, which contributed about 50% of the resources of the H.E.S.S. II project. Daniel Weselka commemorated the discovery of cosmic rays by Victor Hess 100 ago after whom the observatory is named. All speakers complimented the international collaboration and the contributions from science, technology and various institutions without them such a project would not have been possible. The keynote speech was given by Abraham Iyambo, Minister for Education of the Republic of Namibia, on behalf of the President of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba. He emphasised the previous pioneering discoveries of the H.E.S.S. Cherenkov telescope array and its international recognition among world's top ten observatories. H.E.S.S. put Namibia on the science map of the world and this success story will be continued with H.E.S.S. II. Addressing future junior scientists the minister encouraged school students to visit the H.E.S.S. site. At the end of the ceremony, Abraham Iyambo pressed the 'red button' to activate the new telecope. The guests were deeply impressed by the synchronised motion of the five telecopes and how rapid the 580 tonnes heavy H.E.S.S. II telescope can point to any position in the sky. During the tour around the H.E.S.S. site the also the automatic assembly of the 3 tonnes heavy camera was demonstrated. The sequence of inauguration events started the day before with an international symposium and concluded with an Open Day for the general public at the H.E.S.S. site on Sunday 30 September 2012.


Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann (Spokesperson of the H.E.S.S. Collaboration) Tel.: +49 6221 516 330 E-Mail: werner.hofmann (at) mpi-hd.mpg.de

Dr. Michael Panter Tel.:+49 6221 516 273 E-Mail: michael.panter (at) mpi-hd.mpg.de

idw :: 29.09.2012