Scientists are going to use the moon as a giant particle detector




What is the Moon? In addition to the impact on the earth tides and inspiration of poets, lighting your way at night and Neil Armstrong providing spaces for walking, for what else you can use the moon? If you ask scientists from the University of Southampton, they will tell you that the satellite of our planet can be used as huge particle detector. Radio telescopes “square kilometer lattice» (SKA) scientists are going to use the mass of the satellite to search for cosmic rays of ultrahigh-energy (UHE).

Despite the very serious advancement of science in the last century, in the universe there is still a lot of interesting puzzles that we have yet to unravel. One of these puzzles are cosmic particles of ultrahigh energies. Particles that form the streams of ultrahigh-energy have kinetic energy, which is several orders of magnitude higher than that of other cosmic-ray particles, and is more than 1018 eV (electron volts). Discovered in 1991 by a particle, later dubbed the “God particle”, had an energy of 3 × 1020 eV, which is the equivalent of a baseball flying at a speed of 100 km / h – a crazy amount of energy to subatomic particles. According to scientists, these cosmic particles must be relatively young, otherwise they would dissipate energy along with a scattering of photons. That is why the solution to this issue is the most important for modern cosmology.

From the words of the team of scientists from Southampton, the particles of ultrahigh energies are incredibly rare and difficult to find. They were discovered when they hit the upper atmosphere, where they are faced with atoms and scattered in the nanosecond energy flux of radio emission. As you might guess, in the presence of particles of ultrahigh energy flow at a rate of one particle per square kilometer per century scientists rather difficult to work with, simply because the working material is in a catastrophic deficit.

Scientists have attempted to solve this problem by using larger detectors, such as an array of telescopes located in the territory of 3,000 square kilometers in the Observatory Pierre Auger, located in Argentina. But the team came up from Southampton to use something better. As an object for collision with these cosmic particles scientists want to use the moon.

Once cosmic particles hit on an area of ​​19 million square kilometers towards the ground side, they will create emission of radio waves, which can detect a huge, occupying a total of 33 000 square kilometers of South Africa and Australia array of telescopes “square kilometer grid”. This will actually make the moon the biggest in the history of reflecting telescope, while the “square kilometer lattice” will serve as a scholar of the eyepiece.

After the start of this great work of Southampton scientists expect to find about 165 radiation events ultrahigh-energy particles that are much larger than 15 observations of similar events that have occurred this year.

“Cosmic radiation similar amount of energy so rare that you need to have an incredibly large detector to collect the required amount of material to study. Moon in this plan will overshadow the power and size of any of the currently created detectors “- says Justine Bray, a scientist from the Department of Space Magnetism at the University of Southampton.

“If we will make it all work, then we will have the unique chance to learn about where these particles appear.”

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