Cosmic ray particles hit the Earth’s surface so frequently that two rays pass through your head every second. They were discovered in 1912 by Victor Hess when he took a detector up in a hot air balloon. As they zoom through the atmosphere, they crash into nuclei, creating a shower of secondary particles that cosmic ray devices can detect. Scientists are analyzing data from cosmic ray detectors.
INSPIRE participants will build and run their own detectors and place them on a roof of a Refugee Educational Center located at 150 N 1950 W, in Salt Lake City to collect data for research.
The detector technology is adapted from HiSPARC (High School Project on Astrophysics Research with Cosmics), a collaboration between science institutions that started in the Netherlands, aimed at improving Dutch high schoolers’ interest in particle physics. Now there are more than 140 student-built detectors on buildings in the Netherlands, Namibia, and the United Kingdom that upload their data 24/7 to a publicly-available database at the Nikhef Institute in Amsterdam. INSPIRE detectors will be the newest addition to the HiSPARC project.
The data collected by the detector system is fed into a central shared database along with data from all other HiSPARC detectors. Students will develop analysis tools in python to analyze this shared data, doing simple physics including measuring rates as a function of energy, rate variations as a function of the time of day, rate versus latitude, angular dependence of showers and looking for sources.