Physics goals

The MAGIC telescopes have been built with the clear goal to lower the energy threshold for gamma rays observed with ground-based instruments. A low energy threshold holds the key to open the door for many unanswered physics questions. As the MAGIC telescopes have reached their design performance,  new avenues beyond predicted physics have been opened. The areas of interest which MAGIC is devoted to investigate are shown in the figure on the right.

The general argument is the absolute necessity to explore the electromagnetic spectrum at all wavelengths, and the absence, up to 2008, of any instrument exploring the energy region between some tens of GeV and several hundred GeV with adequate sensitivity. At lower energies, satellite experiments, in particular EGRET, did contribute important knowledge. The energy range and sensitivity of satellite experiments have been substantially boosted by the EGRET successor,  the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. This observatory was launched in 2008 in low Earth orbit; its main instrument is the Large Area Telescope (LAT). Fermi is still limited to lower energies by its detector size, and overlaps in the area of 50 to 100 GeV with the complementary terrestrial observations. Pre-MAGIC gamma-ray telescopes, on the other hand, typically had an energy threshold of several hundred GeV.

Lately, the multi-messenger observations have also started to provide very relevant information that brings us closer to answer physics questions still open. In 2017, IceCube, Fermi and MAGIC detected neutrinos and photons coming from the same region in the sky. The particles probably come from the same source, the blazar TXS 0506+056, which became the first likely source of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays.