Long-Term Monitoring Of Bright Blazars With A Dedicated Cherenkov Telescope
Flaring activity of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) in VHE gamma-ray astronomy is observed on timescales from minutes to years and can be explained either by the interaction of relativistic jets with the surrounding material or by imprints of the central engine, like temporal modulation caused by binary systems of supermassive black holes. The key to answer those questions lies in combining 24/7 monitoring with short high sensitivity exposures as provided by the third generation gamma-ray astronomy instruments like MAGIC, VERITAS and H.E.S.S. The long-term observations can be provided by a global network of small robotic Cherenkov telescopes.(1) As a first step, we are currently setting up a dedicated Cherenkov telescope, which will carry out joint observations with the Whipple 10 m telescope for AGN monitoring. The new telescope will be designed for low costs but high performance by upgrading one of the former HEGRA telescopes, still located at the MAGIC site on the Canary Island of La Palma (Spain). The main novelties will be its robotic operation and a novel camera type, resulting in a greatly improved sensitivity and a lower energy threshold.