Illustration of the HiSCORE detector.

TAIGA = Tunka Advanced Instrument for Gamma-ray and Cosmic ray Astrophysics

HiSCORE = Hundred Square km Cosmic ORigin Explorer

The TAIGA experiment uses a new hybrid approach, combining an air Cherenkov shower-front sampling array (timing array) with imaging air Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs). The timing array is also known as the HiSCORE-array. HiSCORE stands for Hundred Square-km Cosmic ORigin Explorer. While HiSCORE started as a stand-alone concept, the hybrid approach combining timing with imaging allows us to reach a comparable sensitivity level with TAIGA using only a fraction of the very large area originally envisaged for HiSCORE. TAIGA will cover an area of up to 10 square-km instrumented with timing sations and up to 16 small (4-5m diameter) IACTs. Today (Summer 2018), a total of 1 square-km in the Tunka valley in Siberia is instrumented with timing stations and a first IACT, delivering hybrid events from known astrophysical sourcesr. A second IACT is under construction. Our goal is the investigation of the accelerator sky with observations of gamma-rays in the so far poorly covered energy range above 10 TeV (Ultra high energies) and cosmic rays at energies from 100 TeV to 1 EeV. This energy range is the key to the search for cosmic ray pevatrons, one of the remaining puzzle pieces to solve the mystery of the origin of cosmic rays.


DFG funding for PhD position granted
September 2018

*** Deadline 22.11.2018 *** (The deadline for applications was extended because publication at AAS required a minimum online time of 4 weeks)

DFG granted us funds for one PhD position for TAIGA. The PhD position will focus on the development of reconstruction and analysis for hybrid data.
PhD position advertisement (english)
PhD position advertisement (deutsch)

TAIGA experiment 2018-2019
Summer 2018

The TAIGA experiment is growing further. In 2018, 43 stations (white and red squares) and one IACT (north west position) were operational. A second IACT is under construction and will be deployed until 2019 (south east). Additionally, further timing stations are being deployed (yellow squares), resulting in a total array area of 1 square-km. With the current detector stage, first signals from known sources are seen using the first IACT alone. We are currently finalizing the analysis and working towards independent cross-check analyses before publishing these results. (click here for the most recent status talk at Marcel Grossmann, Rome)

TAIGA real data

Events from first hybrid observations during the commissioning phase of the first IACT were observed. An air shower event seen by the IACT camera (left) in coincidence with a HiSCORE timing array event (right). The direction reconstructed using the timing array is indicated by a star in the left IACT panel. Comparing to MC simulations, the reconstructed energy (timing array) matches the IACT image size within uncertainties.

Flat acceptance in HiSCORE data

At the current HiSCORE detector stage (0.25 square-km), a detection of the Crab Nebula using only the HiSCORE stations cannot be expected. The background events for HiSCORE were estimated using the classical ring-background method. The plot on the right shows an excess map (ON-OFF events). The corresponding per-pixel significance is found to be a Gaussian distribution (not shown), demonstrating the well-understood background over a wide field of view (12x12 degrees) around the position of the Crab Nebula. (Plot shown at ICRC, Busan, 2017) talk pdf.

TAIGA-IACT first light
December 2016

First light ! Our first IACT has seen first light. The picture shows a screen shot of the DAQ online display.

First mirrors installed on TAIGA IACT
December 2016

The first inner ring of mirrors was installed on the TAIGA IACT. With an area of 1.7 sqm, the telescope has an energy threshold of 1.5 TeV now. At the end of the commissioning phase, the IACT will be equipped with 30 mirrors, resulting in a reflective area of about 8.5 sqm.

Serendipitous discovery of a fast moving source in the sky by TAIGA-HiSCORE: the ISS LIDAR
October 2016

Periods of trigger rate bursts of the order of 1-2 seconds were observed in the TAIGA-HiSCORE data from the commissioning season 2015/16. Reconstruction of these data resulted in the discovery of a fast moving source which could be identified with the CATS LIDAR operating onboard the international space station ISS.

Deployment of first TAIGA IACT started
August 2016

This summer season 2016, the deployment of the first TAIGA imaging air Cherenkov telescope was started. Earthworks such as foundations and cable channeling is restricted to the summer season, because during winter time, the ground is frozen.

Start of commissioning season 2015/16
October 2015

The commissioning season 2015/16 of the TAIGA-HiSCORE timing array starts !

29 stations deployed
December 2014

The mechanics and cabling for 29 TAIGA-HiSCORE stations were deployed from August to December 2014 in the Tunka-valley in Siberia.

Prototype frame of first imaging telescope finished
November 2014

The first telescope mount prototype for the planned imaging telescopes of the TAIGA experiment was finished at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna.

HiSCORE concept paper published
April 2014

The HiSCORE concept paper is out: Astroparticle Physics, Volume 56, p. 42-53. See here. This paper describes the non-imaging - or timing - array concept HiSCORE.

TAIGA collaboration founded
December 2013

The TAIGA collaboration was founded. TAIGA stands for Tunka Advanced International Gamma-ray and Cosmic ray Astrophysics. A joint project between Russian, German and one Romanian institute, TAIGA will deploy a HiSCORE array on an area (more than 1 square-km) together with 9 imaging air Cherenkov telescopes (IACT). Also see

9-station prototype array deployed

In total 9 stations are in operation since October 2013. This prototype array is running with two separate DAQ systems. The first system is based on a custom development of an analog readout board with integrated time synchronization based on the DRS4 chip. The second DAQ system is based on commercially available components (raspberry pi, DRS4 evaluation board) and the WhiteRabbit time-synchronization system.

3 stations deployed

3 HiSCORE stations were deployed in October 2012 at the Tunka site. Data taking and component testing is underway over the winter season 2012/2013. The picture shows the deployment team in front of station number 3 (large box with red cover) and its electronic box.

Article on IOP

Huge cosmic ray observatory set for siberia (IOP,

First Prototype installed on Tunka site

Cherenkov light pulses from channels A and B of the first on-site HiSCORE station, and the Tunka channel used for trigger.

During our Tunka expedition from 7th of April to 15th of April, we successfully installed a prototype HiSCORE station on the Tunka site. We took data using the Tunka DAQ system and saw first Cherenkov light flashes. With these data, we plan to perform a first HiSCORE-Tunka cross-calibration study. This expedition also was very useful for understanding some details about our concept and for initiating improvements. Thanks to everybody involved !

Helmholtz Russia Joint Research Group granted !!

A Tunka detector by night. Courtesy: L. Kuzmichev

Joint efforts with Russian (Inst. Nucl. Res. Russian Academy of Sciences, Appl. Phys. Inst of Irkutsk State Univ., Moscow State Univ.) and German institutes (DESY, KIT, UniHH) are now supported by the Helmholtzgemeinschaft with a HRJRG grant ! Also see DESY press release. A web site for our new HRJRG is in preparation.

First Tunka field trip successful

A Tunka cluster box, which will also serve for integration of the first HiSCORE prototype on site.

From 17.10.2011 to 24.10.2011, our first field trip to the site of the Tunka experiment took place. We have successfully integrated a station PC (guru plug PC) to the Tunka network and integrated it to the Tunka DAQ. A server/client connection is active and ready to be used for HiSCORE station control at the Tunka site! In the coming months, deployment of a prototype station in the Tunka valley is planned.

First 2-channel station prototype

The 2-channel prototype station.

The first prototype station consisting of 2 PMT channels with Winston cones was assembled and fully equipped with electronics. First tests yield positive results. We are currently working on iterating the station components, using our test experience as input.

Helmholtz Alliance for astroparticle physics granted !
June 2011

HiSCORE is now supported within this alliance (HAP) with 1/2 PostDoc and one PhD. We plan the deployment of prototypes at the Pierre Auger observatory and studies of combination of HiSCORE with Auger.

NSB measurement from Fowler's Gap published

The research station Fowler's Gap in New South Wales, Australia, is being discussed as possible site for HiSCORE. Evaluation of the site is ongoing. In two campaigns in February and August 2010 the night sky brightness at the site was being examined. The results are now accepted for publication in "Advances in Space Research". The paper can be found on the ArXiv and in our Document section .

TEXAS Proceeding paper on HiSCORE

The proceeding paper to the TEXAS 2010 conference in Heidelberg with the title "Simulation of the expected performance for the proposed gamma-ray detector HiSCORE" has been accepted for publication in Proceedings of Science. Currently, it can be found on our website (here) and on the ArXiv. It gives a round-up of the HiSCORE project and its status and explores some possibilities to decrease the energy threshold.

Contributions at TEXAS 2010 (Heidelberg)

There will be poster contributions about HiSCORE from MT and DH at the TEXAS Symposium in Heidelberg (06.12.2010 - 10.12.2010). You're welcome to come around and have a chat with us!

Contributions on the COSPAR 2010

There will be contributions about SCORE / HiSCORE at the COSPAR 2010 in Bremen (July 18th to 25th). Martin Tluczykont has been invited to give a talk in the E110 session about "The Next Generation Ground-based Gamma-ray Experiments", and Daniel Hampf will present a poster in the same session.

Prototype Winston Cone finished

The first prototype Winston Cone has been finished and will be equipped with PMT and electronics for testing soon (see Detector section).

Site Survey Campaign

The first campaign for a site survey in collaboration with the TenTen group in Adelaide has taken place in Australia. Results will be published soon.

ICRC Proceedings online

The proceedings papers for the ICRC 2009 in Lodz are available in the Documents section of this website.

DPG Talks available

The DPG Talks are now available in the Documents section of this website.


This project was initiated by us in Spring 2008 with the goal of investigating the gamma-ray and Cosmic-ray sky (accelerator-sky) in the energy range from 100 TeV (TeV = Tera-electron-Volt) to 1 EeV (EeV = Exa-electron-Volt). A few physics questions motivating such a detector are addressed in our Physics section and in our publications.
One of the key components of the project is the development of a new detector, which is described in some detail in the Detector section.

The HiSCORE project is part of the Astroparticle Group by Prof. Dr. Dieter Horns at the University of Hamburg.

TAIGA Project funding:

University of Hamburg funds (astroparticle group, Prof. Horns)
Funds from other participating Institutes (both Russian and German)
DFG TL 51-3 (2009)
Helmholtz HRJRG-303 (2012-2015)
Russian funds (Mega-grant and more, 2014-)
DFG TL 51/6-1 (2019-2021)