Instrumentation and software for the VERITAS Project and the detection of TeV Gamma-Ray Emission from the BL Lacertae Object 1ES1959+650
Transmission of Cherenkov light through the atmosphere is strongly influenced by the optical clarity of the atmosphere and the prevailing weather conditions. The performance of telescopes measuring this light is therefore dependent on atmospheric effects. This thesis presents software and hardware developed to implement a prototype sky monitoring system for use on the proposed next-generation gamma-ray telescope array, VERITAS. The system, consisting of a CCD camera and a far-infrared pyrometer, was successfully installed and tested on the ten metre atmospheric Cherenkov imaging telescope operated by the VERITAS Collaboration at the F.L. Whipple Observatory in Arizona. The thesis also presents the results of observations of the BL Lacertae object, 1ES1959+650, made with the Whipple ten metre telescope. The observations provide evidence for TeV gamma-ray emission from the BL Lacertae object, 1ES1959+650, at a level of more than 15 standard deviations above background. This represents the first unequivocal detection of this object at TeV energies, making it only the third extragalactic source seen at such levels of significance in this energy range. The flux variability of the source on a number of timescales is also investigated.
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