We will determine the possible locations for the arrays of the CTA Observatory based on
meteorological, geological, geographical, political and social criteria. At least two sites in both Hemispheres will be identified and characterized, with the final site selection made at the time of a funding decision on CTA implementation.
The first step was to produce a shortlist of possible sites using existing meteorological, geological and geographical databases. Next, several instruments for atmospheric monitoring will be deployed at candidate sites. These instruments will allow the characterization of the astronomical quality of the deployment locations and will have identical properties so that the measurements at each site are comparable. Data will be acquired for at least one year at each site. Finally, a joint analysis of local and remote sensing data will be made for each site and a report prepared which will form one of the bases for a decision on the future site of CTA.
The infrastructure needs of CTA include accommodation and dining facilities, data acquisition and control buildings, space for camera and component storage and repair, workshops, clean rooms for mirror re-coating and requirements for transportation (e.g. storage of loads, provision for vehicles and cranes). Also included are waste management, water treatment/distribution, power-distribution and the physical data network for the array.
Once the preliminary list of sites is available, the generic infrastructure will be adapted (roughly) to the physical configuration of the various candidate sites, and once the shortlist of sites is completed, the study of the detailed layout of the observatories can start. As the telescope drive systems and cameras of CTA will require very considerable power resources during observations, the development of an energy management and power distribution plan is a major task that will be undertaken as part of the site development plan.