H.E.S.S (High Energy Stereoscopic System) is a system of Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes located in Namibia, near the Gamsberg, an area well known for its excellent optical quality and seeing conditions. H.E.S.S. has five telescopes, four with a mirror just under 12 m in diameter, arranged 120 m apart from each other in a square, and one larger telescope with a 28 m mirror, constructed in the center of the array. As with other gamma-ray telescopes, H.E.S.S. observes high energy processes in the universe. Gamma-ray producing sources include supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei and pulsar wind nebulae. It also actively tests unproven theories in physics such as looking for the predicted gamma-ray annihilation signal from WIMP dark matter particles and testing Lorentz invariance predictions of loop quantum gravity.
On the 13th of September, 2018, I spent from dusk to dawn, capturing the ever changing southern night sky. Just past sunset, the Moon and Venus are high in the sky while the telescopes are readying themselves for the night ahead. The Belt of Venus paints the sky a deep pink and as the trio of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter set around 9pm., the telescopes spring into action against the backdrop of the Milky Way. The Dark Horse prances in the night sky and a slow waltz unfolds as The Magellanic Clouds slowly rotate around the south celestial pole. The sky is awash with intense airglow and the stars glitter like diamonds on the mirrors of the telescopes. As Orion rises in the east closer to dawn, one can see the Zodiacal light compete for visual space with the light pollution of Windhoek, about 100 kms away. The southern night skies have so much to offer…..