National Institute for Subatomic Physics

Cosmic Rays - Auger

Together with international colleagues, Nikhef physicists conduct research by means of innovative detectors on the Argentinean pampa. They do this to gain more understanding of the nature and origin of cosmic rays.

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What are cosmic rays?
What does the research entail?
How do the researchers know where the radiation originates from?
What is Nikhef's contribution to this research?
Why do we want to know this and what are possible applications?

Program leader of the Cosmic Rays program at Nikhef is Charles Timmermans


One of the about 1600 water basins on the Argentinean pampa that together form a detector with which particles are measured.
Water basins in the assembly hall. The names were given by students in the area where the basins have been installed.
The Pierre Auger Observatory also encompasses several antennas with solar panels with which radiation in the atmosphere can be measured.

May 2015 - read about Cosmic Rays research in the Nikhef annual report

Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays are the most energetic particles we know, exceeding the LHC energy by many orders of magnitude. Yet we do not know the physics that is needed to generate them in the heavenly bodies, nor do we know
the physics that governs their interactions with our own atmosphere. The Pierre Auger Observatory is world’s largest cosmic ray observatory located on 3,000 km2 near Malargüe in the province of Mendoza in Argentina and was built to resolve
these mysteries. Read on >>